The Armed Forces of the Philippines’s (AFP) posturing as hero in the aftermath of the Ampatuan massacre is hypocritical in the face of hidden arms caches found in the Ampatuan warlord’s mansions and vast properties. These military-owned high-powered rifles, ammunition, and war materiel are evidence that pin the devious collusion between the Ampatuan warlord clan, their mercenaries in the AFP top brass, and the Arroyo family.
Faced with mounting nationwide anger that could lead to an ‘Oust Gloria’ reprisal, the Arroyo regime imposed martial law in Maguindanao in a desperate attempt to exonerate itself from the culpability of arming, backing, and using political warlords and their private armies in its counter-revolutionary schemes.
It is ironic for Col. Leo Ferrer, commander of the 601st infantry brigade-AFP, in the midst of the martial law hullabaloo, to warn Ampatuan supporters and CVOs of the military’s capability to launch tactical offensives if the latter remains unwilling to be disarmed. Ferrer conveniently forgot that it was the military and the police who armed these civilians through the reactionary government’s issuance of various executive orders to establish these private armies.
Even the butcher, retired general Jovito Palparan affirmed that the AFP in the past years has been supplying guns to the Ampatuans for its “counter-insurgency” campaign particularly against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Truly representative of the AFP, Palparan, however, did not feel any remorse for the massacre despite glaring evidence that it was the AFP’s sophisticated weaponry that murdered 64 civilian victims of the Ampatuan monstrosity. In fact, Palparan and the AFP are so thankful to the Ampatuan warlords for helping them in their fight against ‘insurgents’ that the Eastern Mindanao Command sees it a small token to keep and secure Andal Ampatuan Sr in Camp Panacan instead of committing him to jail as a heinous criminal deserves.
The AFP’s mercenary tradition
The AFP has been used by US imperialism and the local ruling class as mercenaries. It uses the vilest forms of deception to crush the people’s resistance against the existing semi-feudal and semi-colonial system and to stop the advance of the People’s war.
The Ampatuan warlords’ private armies are only an example of the monsters being held under the leash of the AFP.
Not stung by public backlash on the Ampatuan Massacre, the Arroyo regime has now unleashed Palparan to sow terror in Davao City, after having murdered leaders and members of legal democratic organizations and committing various political killings, abductions, and torture in many parts of the country.
Similarly, the AFP has unleashed Gen. Eduardo del Rosario in the recruiting and arming of lumads against the revolutionary movement. Del Rosario is aided by pseudo-traditional leaders Joel Onad and Ruben Labawan who have been sowing terror against lumads and settlers in the hinterland of Davao City, as well as pushing for the entry of big foreign and local capitalists in lumads’ ancestral domains. Del Rosario has coddled criminals like Toto Palma who had figured in a number of crimes including the April 2002 Pangyan massacre.
The AFP uses the likes of Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu who, during his short assignment (from February 10 to November 16, 2009) as commander of the 10th Infantry Division under the Eastern Mindanao Command, is guilty in the brutal rape-slay of Rebelyn Pitao, daughter of NPA commander Ka Parago perpetrated by his military intelligence death squads. It was also during his term when the 10th ID-AFP dossier against so-called enemies of the State was exposed.
For this gruesome record, the US-Arroyo regime has lauded and promoted these hound dogs to higher military or civilian positions in government. Palparan had the temerity of bidding for a congressional seat using fraud and terrorism after having received accolades from Mrs. Arroyo. Meanwhile, Del Rosario has been promoted from lieutenant colonel to general, while Mapagu has been deployed as commanding general of the National Capital Region Command, the AFP’s anti-coup force in Manila.
Finally, it is despicable that Lt. Gen. Raymundo Ferrer, chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command, had been designated as martial law administrator. Ferrer is guilty of thousands of human rights violations perpetrated under his command and had worked closely with the Ampatuan warlords in the GRP’s ruthless counter-revolutionary warfare against the MILF.
The US imperialist state’s responsibility
US imperialism’s continuous pouring of military aid in Mindanao — its second front in the war on terror — is the fountainhead for the atrocities committed by the Arroyo regime’s warlord allies and mercenary armed forces.
The United States has connived with the local puppet ruling class to advance the Joint US Military Advisory Group’s (Jusmag) counter-revolutionary campaign, the latest of which is Oplan Bantay Laya. The US has been laying the ground for Mindanao to be its permanent base via the onerous US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement. It has installed intelligence-gathering equipment and conducted actual combat operations as part of its bogus anti-terror campaign.
The US government’s hands are bloodied for backing the killing machines of the Arroyo regime, now ably represented by local fascist rulers like the Ampatuan warlords and the AFP/PNP mercenaries.
Rubi del Mundo
National Democratic Front of the Philippines