The Pain of the Father

Mar 14, 2009

By CHERYLL FIEL | Davao Today

New Peoples Army (NPA) leader Leoncio Pitao, alias Kumander Parago, pins down four members of the military intelligence group (MIG) behind the killing of her 20-year old daughter Rebelyn. Photo taken inside Parago’s operational command in the hinterlands in Davao City. (davaotoday.com photo by Barry Ohaylan)

Commander Parago, the nom de guerre of Leoncio Pitao, leader of New Peoples Armys (NPA) First Pulang Bagani Command in Southern Mindanao, is grieving for the loss of his daughter.

Where journalists found him in Paquibato, a mountainous district at the outskirts of the city, Parago could have easily come down and visit the wake of his daughter. Rebelyn Pitao was abducted on March 4, her body found dumped in an irrigation canal in Carmen town, Davao del Norte a day later.

But just as how hard it is for the military to climb the mountains of Paquibato, so it is for Parago to come down.

He is the most wanted rebel leader in Southern Mindanao. Major General Leo Joggy Fojas, the former area command chief of 10th Infantry (Agila) Division of the Philippine Army, pronounced last year that they would be able to capture the rebel leader by the end of 2008.

A new commanding officer has now replaced Fojas. But Parago is still very much around, leading one NPA tactical offensive after another. Read on.

Side Story
Parago : I will not give up the revolution

Remembering a Daughter

Mar 14, 2009


We were just too trusting, says Rebelyns mother Evangeline Pitao.(davaotoday.com photo by Barry Ohaylan)

As cries for justice and a stop to extrajudicial killings carried off Rebelyns body to her final resting place, it struck Evangeline that she could no longer see her daughters face.

She still recalls telling her four children with her to watch out and take care of themselves as the war between the government and the Communist New Peoples Army intensifies. Pag-amping mo pag ayo ha, kay basin manghilabot na sila, she recalled telling Rio, 22; Rebelyn, 20; Renante, 18; and Redford, 16 before the gruesome incident happened.

She was worried that top military men in the region who failed to capture her husband, the elusive Kumander Parago of the NPAs Pulang Bagani Command 1, might get back at her children.

Dili, Ma oy, Rebelyn had replied. Di man ta apil, ana. Sila ra man na ang nag away. Civilians man ta. (We are not part of that war. Its only between them and the government. We are civilians).

But she was wrong. The moment that Evangeline knew about her daughters abduction, she turned hysterical. Dili jud siya buhion, sa kasuko nila sa amahan (I had the feeling that they will not spare her life because they were so angry at her father), she said. Read on