Police, Army deny circulation of 'CNN personalities' poster

THE Philippine Army and the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo) denied ordering the circulation of posters that bear the faces of more than 60 personalities who were allegedly insurgents in Moises Padilla town.

Brigadier General Eliezer Losañes, commanding officer of the 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based in Murcia town, said they are not responsible for such activity in the town.

"I didn't know about that and I don't remember issuing such an order to our troops," Losañes added.

According to the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), among those included in the poster were Escalante City Councilor Bernardino Patigas, former secretary-general of Northern Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, and National Union of Peoples' Lawyers-Negros secretary-general Benjamin Ramos, who had worked with peasant and human rights groups.

Also included in the poster are leaders of militant groups. They are Bayan-Negros chairperson and NFSW secretary-general Christian Tuayon, Karapatan-Negros secretary-general Clarizza Singson, Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura secretary-general John Lozande, Juluis Dagatan, Ronald Evidente, Ma. Rina Amacio, Rogina Quilop, Lary Ocena and Anecita Rojo.

A message: "CNN PERSONALITIES, if seen in the area, please text 09099191720," was seen at the top of the poster.

CNN refers to the acronym Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), which is being used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Losañes told the media on Tuesday, April 17, that he will monitor and order an investigation about it.

Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent Rodolfo Castil Jr., provincial police director, said he has nothing to do with the poster.

"I am here to protect my men. I have no knowledge about it," Castil added.

He said those who started it are "irresponsible."

Castil said the authorities have a list of at least five identified communist rebels but that is based on the witnesses' identification and military's intelligence monitoring. It was not like the poster that is being circulated lately.

He said he did not even know where the poster came from. He was only informed about it when it came out on the news.

"I just want to make things clear that we are not behind such circulation," Castil said.

Dagatan, in a press statement, said their group denounces and strongly condemns the blatant attack and malicious tagging of activists as members of the CPP-NPA-NDF operating in the island.

Posting pictures of known leaders of progressive organizations in public places all over the province poses threat and endangers the lives and safety of the persons being posted, Dagatan added.

Even with Castil's denial, the group believed that it is a clear systematic attack on civil and political rights, demonizing and criminalizing political dissent and trampling on human rights.

These tactics are not new since numerous cases of such were documented all over the country, Dagatan said.

It is unbelievable that the police can't identify the leaders of progressive organizations since they were always part of their intelligence report, she also said.

The group demanded the immediate pull out of posters all over the province and asked Castil for a public apology.

However, the Negros Occidental top cop said he has nothing to apologize because he did not do anything wrong.

The group continues to challenge the police not to vilify leaders of progressive organizations and endanger their lives and families.

Meanwhile, Losañes appealed to the voters not to vote for candidates in the coming May 14 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections who are aligned with the rebels.

"Don't vote for those aligned with the left. We know that their policy is to kill. We should not give them the chance before things get worse," he said. (Glazyl Y. Masculino and Teresa D. Ellera)
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