By Malu Cadelina Manar
KIDAPAWAN CITY – The New Peoples’ Army (NPA) operating in North Cotabato and Bukidnon provinces admitted killing a leader of an indigenous peoples (IP) group in Magpet town for his alleged active participation in intelligence gathering and military offensives against the rebel movement.
Ka Isabel Santiago, spokesperson for the Mount Apo Sub-Regional Command of the NPA Southern Mindanao Region, said they meted out what they called ‘revolutionary justice’ against Antonio P. Takinan, IP mandatory representative for the municipality of Magpet, and his brother-in-law Robilio Tambunan, also an IP mandatory representative of Barangay Tagbak in Magpet.
On April 4, Takinan and Tambunan were onboard a motorcycle and were headed for Barangay Tagbak in Magpet when they were ambushed by suspects who identified themselves as NPAs.
Takinan died on the spot while Tambunan fought back, was wounded, and escaped, according to Santiago.
Santiago admitted having seized from Takinan a caliber 45 pistol.
According to Santiago, “the “standing order” against the two IP leaders stemmed from their active intelligence gathering activities, forced recruitment of indigenous peoples for the paramilitary CAFGU Bagani fighters, and assisting the military in its combat operations that resulted in grave human rights and international humanitarian law violations.”
The NPAs blamed Takinan when the Army’s 39th IB allegedly launched indiscriminate mortar shelling and aerial bombardment of lumad communities on December 21 last year.
Santiago also accused Takinan of helping the Army’s 19th IB force civilians to either “surrender” or admit to being supporters of the NPA.
Last week, leaders of the IPs in Magpet condemned the killing of Takinan and sought security and protection from the Army.
The Army has yet to issue its statement on Takinan’s murder.