Red commanders and fighters under the ComVal – North Davao – South Agusan Sub-Regional Command of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao condemn in the strongest terms the heinous murder of Marjun “Ka Hiker” Casal, 36, in the fascist hands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the arrest and continued detention of Nilo Ostia and one other unarmed civilian.
In the hackneyed fashion that is the trademark of martial law in Mindanao, the 60 IB of the AFP ventured to make anyone believe that Ka Hiker was killed in an apparent “shootout” with enemy forces in Brgy. Kapatagan, Laak town in Davao del Norte on the early hours of November 27.
Yet the facts, as investigated, point only to the truth that Ka Hiker was abducted, tortured, summarily executed and his lifeless body used to bolster an elaborate spin to mask an evident war crime.
Ka Hiker was on medical leave and recuperating, following an ear operation when on November 13, he was reported missing in Tagum City. Two weeks later, on November 27, a convoy of military and civilian vehicles of the 60 IB entered Block 3, Purok 20 in Brgy. Kapatagan. After an hour, the masses in the area reported that volley of gunfire was heard. Later, the enemy told eyewitnesses that Ka Hiker was killed in a “shootout” and instructed their purok leader to retrieve his body. Another military vehicle then proceeded to nearby Purok Tadok and arrested purok leader Nilo Ostia and another civilian, claiming that the two were members of the NPA. The masses who were able to retrieve Ka Hiker said that his body was already stiff and cold and bore marks of torture.
The farce of an orchestrated “shootout” proved that Ka Hiker was summarily killed somewhere else and that the enemy merely dumped his body in Brgy. Kapatagan in an attempt to conceal the enemy’s fascism.
The thugs of the 60 IB are no stranger to extra-judicial killings in Davao del Norte. Duterte’s ascension to power and the subsequent implementation of martial law in the province already claimed the lives of 6 civilians and attempted to summarily kill 6 more in the last 3 years. Members of the 60 IB are actively issuing death threats to civilians whom they suspect to be sympathizers of the revolutionary movement.
As we condemn the murder of Ka Hiker, we likewise honor his unwavering resolve to serve the masses and the revolutionary cause for close to 18 years. Since becoming a regular Red fighter at the age of 18, he rose to the ranks with his creative and brave leadership of the People’s Army in the provinces of Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Agusan de Sur. Ka Hiker was a stark antithesis to the AFP’s tradition of fascist cruelty against captured enemy personnel in his treatment of the several NPA prisoners of war, including Pfc. Niño Alavaro and Pfc. Marjon Añover who both were later turned over to then Davao City Mayor Duterte in November 2015.
Ka Hiker’s murder at the hands of the fascist enemy, contrary to the trite delusions of the AFP leadership in the 10th Infantry Division and the Eastern Mindanao Command, will not stem the tide of armed revolutionary resistance in the provinces he served in or in the entire Southern Mindanao. In fact, as the masses realize the treachery of the enemy’s operation, especially their modus operandi that targets unarmed civilians, more and more peasants and Lumad will join the armed revolution and forward the people’s war as the only means to put a decisive end to their hardships under the rotten US-Duterte regime.
The masses demand that the perpetrators of the fascist abduction, torture and killing of one of the region’s beloved Red commanders be made to face revolutionary justice, and answer to all other heinous human rights violations against the masses of Davao del Norte. They will rise in the tens of thousands to avenge Ka Hiker’s cold-blooded murder and ensure that his legacy of serving the people in the national democratic revolution lives on.