What happened to their ideologies that red fighters are likely going after civilians? It’s understood that they want to avenge the death of eight comrades, including their spokesman in Bicol, during a major clash in Sorsogon in Central Philippines. But, it’s a totally twisted idea to barge into a peaceful fun run of students in the said province to target police marshals.

Bicol University students were conducting a fun run when suspected NPA rebels opened fire on their way back to

What happened to their ideologies that red fighters are likely going after civilians? It’s understood that they want to avenge the death of eight comrades, including their spokesman in Bicol, during a major clash in Sorsogon. But, it’s a totally twisted idea to barge into a peaceful fun run of students in the said province to target police marshals.

Bicol University students were conducting a fun run when suspected NPA rebels opened fire on their way back to Brgy. Buenavista, Gubat, Sorsogon on July 7. No cop was hurt in the incident but a 17-year-old student sustained gunshot wounds on both feet following the five-minute firefight. The lone victim identified as Lian Layug was brought to a hospital in Legaspi City. AFP tagged the attack as a heinous crime in violation of the International Humanitarian Law. The rebels have undoubtedly stooped down to the level of regular criminals.

Not only that, the gruesome killing of five civilians in Agusan del Sur is testament to the revelations of the 2012 US Department of State Country Reports which suggested that Philippine terrorists including Red fighters are no different from regular criminals committed to a life of crime for sustenance. But justice isn’t likely to turn a blind eye to justify criminal acts whether in the interest of rebellion or terrorism. Murder is murder may it be collateral damage or not.

Last month, the NPA was whining about alleged human rights violations in Abra, but they didn’t mind shooting five defenseless civilians in two separate shooting incidents in Mindanao. Recently, four civilians were tied up and shot to death by rebels including the one who took his chance to escape. The gruesome events happened one after the other in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur.

On June 18, undetermined number of rebels raided a rubber plantation in Sitio Camarangan, Brgy Hawilian located in the town of Esperanza. The rebels should have been contented burning a bulldozer to intimidate the company, but they crossed the line once more when they killed the caretakers Angel Cosan and Danny Linonsag in public. What’s more brutal than executing helpless civilians in public?

It seems they haven’t gotten enough blood on their hands that the rebels went to Brgy. Milagros Kilometer 7 to take three more lives. They barged into a church group called “Pinagbuklod” to nab three members for execution. Two of the victims, former soldier Felipe Hadraque and local resident Remy Polintan, were shot with hands tied up while another local resident, Jun Tria, ended up dead from gunshots after he tried to flee from the rebels. The second attack wasn’t concluded until the burning of Shanalyn Corporation’s seven heavy equipment within the vicinity.

The Agusan del Sur raid didn’t only involve arson and murder but also carnapping. Prior to the attack, red fighters took off with three vehicles they had intercepted in Butuan City. Initial investigation revealed that two forward trucks and one van truck were taken by the rebels and used to consummate the assault. Chances are, the rebels turned carnappers crippled business operations of the vehicle owners not to mention jobs of the innocent drivers.

All this violence in the name what – revolutionary taxes? If non-payment of debt doesn’t merit a day in jail without the element of deceit, even vindictive justice wouldn’t justify the death of caretakers simply doing their jobs to oversee the rubber plantation. Besides, do these establishments rightfully owe something to the NPA when the latter has done nothing but intimidate business operations?

Perhaps it is also noteworthy that the NPA previously abducted and killed a barangay health worker in the same province. The victim is not only a civilian but a helpless female civilian. On June 9, it can be recalled that she was kidnapped at her neighbor’s house. Two rebels visited the victim’s family two days after the abduction to relay death and whereabouts of the cadaver.

Where are the government security forces during the public executions? It appears that the rebels didn’t mind military presence during the attacks. There were at least three Infantry Battalions of the Philippine Army covering areas in the province. In fact, one of the headquarters of the 401st Infantry Brigade is based in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur. Given the dreadful killings, no doubt it is high time for the military to let their presence be felt not only by rebels, but most especially, local civilians relying on them for security.

Meanwhile, soldiers and local police including members of special action force were mandated to stage pursuit operations against communist fighters. Also, there’s a Special Investigation Task Group commissioned to investigate on the incident. Charges for arson and murder are now being filed by the police before the local court.

Whatever ends they wish to attain, it wouldn’t change the fact that arson, kidnapping, and murder are criminal acts no less. Red fighters will never be less guilty than convicted criminals locked in jail to serve their sentences for committing these criminal offenses. They say terrorists rule by fear but apparently they are the ones terrified that they’ve been hiding behind ideologies long buried in the past to cover for their cowardice.