The trail of blood leads to Malacañang

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The killing machine of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime has claimed its 605th victim in Sotero “Ka Teroy” Llamas. Ka Teroy was killed in cold blood on the morning of May 29 by two motorcycle-borne assassins in Barangay Tagas, Tabaco City. Also wounded in the attack was his driver, Marciano Bitara. This cowardly killing of Ka Teroy by one of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s death squads deserves the strongest condemnation of all Filipinos.

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

The killing machine of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime has claimed its 605th victim in Sotero “Ka Teroy” Llamas. Ka Teroy was killed in cold blood on the morning of May 29 by two motorcycle-borne assassins in Barangay Tagas, Tabaco City. Also wounded in the attack was his driver, Marciano Bitara. This cowardly killing of Ka Teroy by one of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s death squads deserves the strongest condemnation of all Filipinos.

Ka Teroy served as adviser to the negotiating panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). As adviser to the NDFP, Ka Teroy was covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) signed by both the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. As holder of JASIG document of identification, Ka Teroy should be protected by the JASIG.

In early 2000, Ka Teroy opted to join the legal mass movement and participated in the 2004 elections by running under an opposition party for local office in the Bicol region.

Until he was arrested by the military in 1995, Ka Teroy was secretary of the Bicol Regional Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines. He led the work of the CPP in the Bicol region for a long period.

Ka Teroy was a product of the upsurge of student activism in the early 70s that was sparked by the First Quarter Storm. He joined the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) while a college student in Albay. As a student activist, Ka Teroy joined other KM members in immersing themselves among the peasant masses to learn about their problems and support them in their struggles against landgrabbers. When Martial Law was declared in 1972, he was one among the many student activists who answered the call of the Party to go to the countryside to work as fulltime revolutionaries among the peasant masses.

Ka Teroy was one of the pioneers who opened up the first guerrilla zones of the New People’s Army in Albay. He was there when the revolutionary movement in Bicol underwent some of the most critical periods in the 1970s and in the subsequent solid advances that started in the 1980s. Under Ka Teroy’s leadership, the revolutionary movement in Bicol achieved great advances in its work both in the cities and in the countryside. That made him one of the most wanted men by the reactionary state which put a prize of 5 million pesos on his head dead or alive. He was captured in a firefight suffering a gunshot wound on his chest on May 17, 1995. He was subsequently released through the peace negotiations.

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines strongly condemns Ka Teroy’s murder and the almost daily killings of leaders and members of the left movement, political party lists, the media and the church. These killings reveal the fascist character of the Arroyo regime. The regime targets the open legal mass movement and leaves no arena for dissent. It criminalizes and cracks down on the opposition by invoking the US-scheme “war on terror”. The impunity by which the killings are perpetrated is a manifestation of the hatred of the regime to any opposition to its rule.

The regime puts up the communist bogey to rationalize the killings but no one is buying it, not even the government’s own Commission on Human Rights, not the media, not the international community, and especially not the Filipino people.

No matter how the government and military officials lie, spin and twist the truth, the trail of blood of the victims of these cowardly killings leads to the very doorstep of Malacañang. For it was in the presidential palace that Macapagal-Arroyo, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Gen. Jovito Palparan and other high-ranking military and police officials concocted the plans to eradicate the left and opposition at whatever cost.

The pattern of the killings today is reminiscent of the killings in the latter half of the 1980s under the Aquino regime with the same modus operandi: military assassins on motorcycles, targeting and killing leaders and members of the left and progressive political party. In 1986, the target was Partido ng Bayan, whose six congressional candidates fell victims to these assassins. General Ermita was deputy chief of staff for operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during that time. He implemented what he learned from Operational Plan Phoenix in Vietnam on silencing the enemy by assassinations, and he is once more implementing it now.

The trail of blood leads to the doorstep of Malacañang. That trail will be followed by the wrath of the people crying out for justice, and they will not be denied.

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