By PATNUBAY DE GUIA
Last 13 November 2012 the newly-appointed Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas declared that in the government’s brand of earnestly upholding justice and accountability, he approved the increase of the bounty reward for the capture of the top fugitives of the land, and co-signed two joint orders between the Department of National Defense (DND) and DILG which contains the updated detailed rewards for CPP-NPA-NDF and Abu Sayyaf Group leaders.
Dubbed as the “Big 5”, topping the list of fugitives are Delfin Lee of Globe Asiatique, Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo, Jr., former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes, Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, and butcher General (Ret) Jovito Palparan. Whoever provides information on the whereabouts of one of these people will be awarded with a staggering PhP2M (US$49,000). This, according to Roxas, will aid in intensifying the manhunt operations for these fugitives.
What seems to be a virtuous political facade for the reactionary government looks very unpleasing to the eyes of the Filipino people.
Why has the government resorted to such activities, shelling out millions of the people’s wealth that would have been better allotted in upgrading social services? What happened to the government institutions such as the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who are supposed to be responsible for the capture of these fugitives? These institutions are being haunted by rampant crimes that occurred in the country in the past years, especially those related to human rights violations, most of which are not yet solved and granted justice.
As time passes by, the bankruptcy of the country’s criminal justice system has gone deeper. The involvement of top military and government officials in these heinous crimes manifests the inutility of these very institutions that should be protecting the people, proving further that they can no longer perform their duties for they are also the ones culpable for these crimes. Arresting them and turning tables in favor of the victims is becoming even more impossible because this system that engenders culture of impunity coddles them. And now, allocating millions of the people’s wealth wouldn’t resolve such crimes and wouldn’t bring these criminals behind bars. The remarks of law enforcers that “more will be interested because of the big bounty” and that “the big bounty was taken by members of the law enforcement as a great challenge” shows how their supposed-to-be-duty-bound attitude of serving and protecting the people is reduced to a mere money-making business.
In the DND-DILG Joint Order No. 14-2012, the updated bounty reward for the arrest of 235 alleged communist leaders now amounts to P466.88M (US$11.4M).
In the desperation of state security forces to lay their hands on these large sums of money, they fabricated stories saying that they have arrested a certain Benjamin Mendoza who, according to them, is the top cadre of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee when in reality, the person they arrested is an ordinary civilian named Rolly Panesa. While the Communist Party of the Philippines has completely denied this, the AFP stood with its claim and continues to detain Panesa to cover up its blunder. As for the P3.2M bounty on Mendoza’s head, this has already been distributed to the pockets of the military.
On the side of the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP), its history has long refuted the effectiveness of bounty rewards in capturing members of the revolutionary movement.
It is clear among the ranks of the revolutionary masses which government is truly serving their interests. And as long as the fundamental problems of the society are not addressed, criminalities will continue and culture of impunity will remain despite reforms in the criminal justice system and increases in bounty rewards.
Ka Roger, for instance, was at the top of the reactionary government’s most wanted list when he became the spokesperson of the New People’s Army-Melito Glor Command, National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Southern Tagalog, and later on the voice of the Communist Party of the Philippines. However, the AFP never got the chance to even touch the tip of Ka Roger’s fingernails despite their extensive manhunt operations and huge amount of bounty involved. Until his very last breath, the revolutionary masses protected Ka Roger and kept him away from the enemy’s wrath.
The reactionary government sends itself further in a tinderbox. Its actions, or the lack thereof, are in stark contrast with what the Filipino people desire. In the countryside where organs of democratic political power are established and consolidated exists a government that is ruled by the masses — a government that addresses the basic needs and rights of the people. In these areas, the people themselves maintain peace and order, implement the law, and exercise revolutionary power.
The People’s Court, which is created by the truly-representative People’s Democratic Government, arraigns the criminal and administrative cases filed by the people. Even without millions of bounty rewards, criminals are arrested by revolutionary authorities and are punished correspondingly. Whoever has greatly wronged the people and is proven to have committed grave crimes against them is brought to face revolutionary justice.
Social justice and peace instituted in rural areas under the revolutionary authority of the people’s democratic power were not easily achieved by the masses but are fruits of the people’s resoluteness and steadfast efforts in establishing a government that genuinely reflects their interests. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and revolutionary masses continue to intensify its tasks of base building, agrarian revolution and armed struggle for the further expansion and consolidation of the People’s Democratic Government.
The Filipino people across the land have long sought for a just and lasting peace. To be able to achieve this, the people must join and carry out the people’s democratic revolution until complete victory.