By CPP Information Bureau
Other versions: Waray
The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas said today that the 8th Infantry Division is systematically deceiving the people in denigrating the New People's Army, which will be celebrating its 41st anniversary on March 29. "The 8th ID has been stepping up its psywar attacks prior to the NPA anniversary this month, most prominently in claiming the discovery of "mass graves" of "NPA victims" in Northern Samar," said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson.
"These slanders attempt to belittle the NPA's steady advance, as well as to cover up the military's abuses under Oplan Bantay Laya. This is also the second time that the 8th ID has attempted to attribute so-called "mass graves" to the NPA in Eastern Visayas, the first being that in Inopacan, Leyte in 2006."
Fr. Salas explained that the historical backgrounds and forensic evidence go against the military's allegations of "mass graves" in Eastern Visayas. "There has never been any mass grave by the NPA in Eastern Visayas whether in Leyte or Samar. For one, the Mt. Amandewin Command investigated the allegation of a "mass grave" in Inopacan, Leyte in 2006 and found it to be a big lie. The alleged area is adjacent to an abandoned cemetery of Brgy. Monterico, from where it is believed the military took the skeletons to use in the alleged "mass graves".
Moreover, the scientific data belie the seriousness of the military's claim — the alleged forensic evidence found such as recognizable clothing was highly improbable because more than 20 years had passed and any such material should have been decayed long ago. The forensic evidence were also seriously compromised to the point of being unacceptable in any court, by careless handling and because the military had contaminated the spot by turning it into a circus for the media and other people for their real intention: anti-communist propaganda.
"Meanwhile, the military inflated their data for psywar purposes by turning a few scattered graves in Mondragon, Northern Samar into an even more improbable claim of "NPA mass graves". These alleged "mass graves" were claimed to have been made in 1980, even earlier than the ones in Inopacan. And yet the military is boasting that it has credible forensic evidence and even witnesses, who give crystal-clear testimonies of events that occurred 30 years ago as if they just saw these during breakfast. "
Fr. Salas also said that the alleged "mass graves" in Northern Samar may in fact be victims of the military. "The site in Brgy. Cahicsan, Mondragon is close to what is colloquially known as "Crystal Mountain" — a place where there are armed fanatical cults established during the Aquino regime for use in "low-intensity conflict" or proxy war against the revolutionary movement. These groups are similar to the notorious "Tadtad" which was widely condemned for gross human rights violations during the Aquino regime. The armed fanatical cults in "Crystal Mountain" are notorious for rapes, killing, and other crimes against outsiders who stray into the area, and many incidents of killings have already been reported to the NPA. These groups are known to be close to, if not directly controlled, by the military."
The NDF-EV spokesperson concluded that the military is trying to slander the NPA on its anniversary, as well as to cover up the real human rights abuses under Oplan Bantay Laya. "While the war intensifies, the military also steps up its psywar in a desperate attempt to isolate the NPA from the people. But it is increasingly difficult for the military to deny that the NPA is indeed growing stronger and intends to reach the strategic stalemate in the people's war within five years. Meanwhile, human rights violations by the military have been escalating in Northern Samar and elsewhere especially as the election nears and the Arroyo regime fights to remain in power. The unresolved human rights violations by the regime, as well as its other accountabilities for immiserizing and oppressing the people, are the real issues and not the psywar inventions of "mass graves."