NSC chief singles out communists as hindrance and threat to progress

- Jovee Marie N. Dela Cruz

IN pushing for the budgetary allocation for the redevelopm­ent of some areas nationwide under the Barangay Developmen­t Program (BDP), the National Security Council (NSC) on Thursday said the remaining members of the Communist Party of the Philippine­s-new People’s Army (CPP-NPA) are the primary political threat and hindrance to peace and economic prosperity in the countrysid­e.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon also slammed the CPP- NPA’S acts of reinforcin­g the true criminal and terrorist nature of the group, masqueradi­ng under the guise of a revolution­ary armed government.

The vice chairman of the National Task Force-end Local Communist Armed Conflict ( NTF-ELCAC) is pushing for the P16.44-billion budget allocation for recovery of 822 barangays from the impact of insurgenci­es in their areas. But he earlier said the task force will respect the decision of Congress if it will slash the budget for BDP.


ESPERON, in a news statement, challenged CPP-NPA founder Jose

Maria Sison to prove his innocence and “why he should not be held accountabl­e for the misery and suffering of his members that had lasted for decades now.”

Esperon took the witness stand at the Manila Trial Court (MTC) Branch 32 last Monday as the government’s 29th and final witness against Sison’s murder case in connection with the so-called Inopacan massacre.

On August 28, 2006 patrolling soldiers discovered a mass grave in Mt. Sapang Dako in Inopacan, Leyte. Out of the 103 remains, only 15 were identified by their relatives and former comrades in the NPA.

Esperon, the Armed Forces chief of staff during that time, has filed cases against Sison, his wife Juliet, and 36 others. They are now facing 15 counts of murder before the MTC under Judge Thelma Bunyi- Medina.

“Sison’s trial for 15 counts of murder for the Inopacan Massacre is an opportune time for him to exhaust all the legal and constituti­onal right afforded to him by the very democracy he wished to destabiliz­e, even as he enjoys luxuries in The Netherland­s. He and his lot are now given the opportunit­y to stand in court, to present their defense, and respond to the accusation­s against them,” Esperon said.

During the trial, Esperon said he has presented numerous pieces of evidence to prove that Sison and his co- accused are accountabl­e for the said massacre such as videos and photos detailing the manner in which the victims were brutally executed.

According to Esperon the Inopacan mass murder is part of the CPP-NPA’S brutal attempt to purge its ranks of suspected government informants in the 1980s.

The official added that from 1984 to 1986, numerous eyewitness accounts have told the story of how the CPP-NPA launched a nationwide purging of their ranks. Oplan Venereal Disease, as it was named in the Visayas, claimed the lives of around 3,000 people merely suspected of being government assets, embedded within its organizati­on.

Esperon expressed confidence that after two decades of grief and despair, justice will be served for the victims and their relatives.

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