Rethinking Society Over a Cup of Coffee

The Killing Continues....

Things have gone awfully wrong the past week. Rebelyn Pitao, was abducted and was later found dead in an irrigation canal in Carmen , Davao del Norte. Her mother Evangeline said her daughter was tortured, raped and stabbed to death. Her body bore a total five stab wounds from an ice pick;two stab wounds were above the breast, one of which hit the lung; two under the breast, one of which hit the liver eyes,blindfolded with a packing tape, she was strangled by a rope with a diameter three centimeter based on the markings around her neck. Her only crime was that she was the daughter of Leoncio Pitao.

Leoncio Pitao is the father of Rebelyn. He is better known as commander Parago of the New People’s Army who has been a pain in the ass for the military. He was responsible for the capture of Brig. Gen. Victor Obillo and Capt. Eduardo Montealot in February 1999 who were freed 58 days later in captivity. Commander Parago also led the raid on the Davao Penal Colony in April 2007. The killing was aimed at devastating her father who is the leader of Pulang Bagani Command but it had the opposite effect. Rebelyn’s father said in an interview that the killing of her daughter only strengthened his resolve in fighting for the revolution.

The killing of Rebelyn Pitao spurred an avalanche of condemnation and protest. From the street vendors to some lawmakers, many have been utterly disgusted over the brutal killing. Even the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or the MILF condemned it. Google the name Rebelyn Pitao, and you will be flooded with blogs, news and articles, all condemning the killing.

Fingers are all pointing in one direction and that is towards the military. Rebelyn’s mother did not mince words when she said the “evil, vicious men of the military intelligence group” was responsible for killing her daughter. The killing bears the mark of military precision and if you put the puzzle pieces together, it gets all the more clearer.

Rebelyn’s brother, Ryan, was hounded by military agents and was almost stabbed in 2005. Fearing for his life, the incident forced him to join his father in the NPA. In june last year, the younger brother of Commander Parago was shot dead in Tagum City by suspected military agents. Looming in the background is the Arroyo Government’s deadline to defeat and end the communist movement by the end of her term in 2010.

I think this is the reason why President Barack Obama won’t meet up with Arroyo. He can’t have his advocacy for Change be tainted with blood. The US Department of State in its 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in Philippines , cites Human Rights violations perpetrated by the government, extrajudicial killings and the killing of journalists and political activists. Desperate efforts in silencing dissent.

I wonder what happened to the case of Ka Vic Paglinawan, who was shot dead in Malabog, Davao City. He is a farmer leader and organizer who before his death was groundworking in Mindanao for the planned National Mobilization to press Congress to Reform and Extend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

The killing of Rebelyn Pitao adds up to the list of Extra-Judicial Killings in the Philippines under the Arroyo administration.

(Photos from