Undoubtedly, the stabbing attack last night against Atty. Karlo Guillen and the killing last February 28 of village chief Julie Catamin are the handiwork of the criminal agents of the Duterte fascist regime, particularly the death squads of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Guillen and Catamin are defenders of the Tumandok people. They are helping expose the truth behind the massacre and mass arrests perpetrated by the Philippine National Police (PNP) last December 30 of nine Tumandok community leaders and residents.
Atty. Guillen, secretary general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL)-Panay and national vice chairperson for Visayas, is working for the release of imprisoned Tumandoks facing trumped up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Catamin, village captain of Barangay Roosevelt in Tapaz, Capiz, publicly denounced the police for planting evidence on her village folk and was to serve as a key witness against the police’s false charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. She was part of the LGBT community.
The Party believes that the two incidents, both cowardly attacks against unarmed people, are related and might have even been carried out by the same riding-in-tandem death military agents. The broad masses condemn in the strongest possible terms these attacks which clearly aims to silence those exposing the truth behind the Tumandok massacre by the PNP.
We denounce the NTF-ELCAC and the AFP for attempts to blame the killing of Catamin on the NPA in an attempt to wash their hands of the crime. They have even hypocritically offered a P300,000 reward money, knowing that the real perpetrators of the crime are actually in their payroll. Catamin, who had participated in AFP counterinsurgency programs in the past, recently received threats from the 12th IB headquarters after her public denunciation of the police and after residents sought the help of Bayan Muna, church and human rights groups.
These fascist crimes target those defending the rights and interests of the Tumandoks. The minority people of Panay have been subjected to relentless armed suppression by the military and police to cripple their resistance against economic aggression into their ancestral land. They are fighting to defend their ancestral domain against the planned Jalaur MegaDam that will inundate their communities and farms.
The Party calls on the Tumandok people to stand firm, unite and strengthen their resistance against their oppressors and exploiters. The New People’s Army (NPA) and all revolutionary forces will exert all effort to defend the Tumandok people, punish the perpetrators of the massacre and killings, and help their resistance to defend their ancestral land against the land grabbers and aggressors.
[edited]: Catamin was killed on February 28, not March 1. Guillen is Secretary General of NUPL-Panay and National Vice Chair for Visayas.