Casiño hits NPA over Guingona ambush
MANILA, Philippines - Bayan Muna representative and senatorial candidate Teddy Casiño "strongly" criticized the New People's Army (NPA) over the ambush that injured Gingoog City Mayor Ruthie Guingona and killed her aides in Misamis Oriental.
Casiño said in a statement the incident was "wrong and unacceptable," and that Ruthie, an elderly woman, should have been spared.
NPA members ambushed on Saturday night, April 20 the 4-vehicle convoy carrying Ruthie, wife of former vice president Teofisto Guingona and mother of Senator Teofisto Guingona III, along a remote road in Gingoog. The mayor was wounded in the attack, while at least 2 others died.
"Although the NPA has admitted its mistake, we expect them to make a thorough investigation, hold those responsible to account, take remedial actions and make amends to the victims' families. This is a matter that can also be taken up with the NDFP-GRP Joint Monitoring Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law," said Casiño.
Casino also earlier posted the statement below on his Twitter page:
I strongly criticize the NPA's military action on Mayor Ruthie Guingona's convoy that resulted in the death and injury of civilians.— Teddy Casiño (@teddycasino) April 21, 2013
Some netizens reacted to his tweet.
@teddycasino "criticize"is a very tentative word, should you not "condemn"?— X. Eric Manalastas (@xem_lastman) April 21, 2013
@teddycasino as if. Come on. Be true Cong. Casiño.— Rafael Pacatang (@rap_08) April 21, 2013
@teddycasino I hope that is the common position of the entire Left. Condemn them, too, for demanding payment of revo tax & election pass.— Edgar Hapa (@hapalapagus) April 21, 2013
@teddycasino I hope you understand the anger! You condemn not criticize such actions & tell them to go to North Korea to fight for Equality!— Nino Anthony (@neenyow) April 21, 2013
An activist since his college years, Casiño has represented progressive partylist group Bayan Muna since 2004. Bayan Muna's alleged connection to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) has time and again been raised against Casiño and his group.
Casiño has repeatedly denied having links with communist rebels.
The Akbayan partylist, for its part, condemned the NPA for the incident. The group said Ruthie's husband, the former vice president, had a "long relationship of amity and solidarity with the progressive group."
"For a group like the NPA, which styles itself as a revolutionary organization, to attack Mayor Guingona is inexcusable and unjustifiable," it said.
During the Rappler senatorial debate on April 13, fellow senatorial bet Risa Hontiveros, former Akbayan representative, asked Casiño why he hasn't made comments on reports of NPA abuses. Casiño said he would rather focus on human rights abuses committed by "men in uniform" rather than those committed by communist rebels.
"Based on info on the ground, it's really the persons in uniform who commit more abuses," he said. "The biggest problem when we present cases to the military, the automatic answers are denials that's why there is no justice. Unlike the rebels who are already accountable to the law, men in uniform have ties with the people who investigate them."
Other groups hit NPA, too
Other officials and groups also condemned the latest act of the NPA.
In a radio interview, presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said "there is no place for any violent act against officials and candidates, especially with the May elections fast approaching."
Vice President Jejomar Binay, on the other hand, said in a statement that "violence should never be tolerated," and that he trusts "our law enforcement officers will be able to capture the perpetrators soon so that justice will be served."
Binay's United Nationalist Alliance or UNA also issued a statement condemning the act. "As Filipinos, we take care of our elderly; not hurt them. No matter what the circumstances are, we don't shoot at women."
Ruthie sustained wounds in her arms and feet during the ambush, and is now in stable condition. Her group was attacked on their way home from a fiesta where she campaigned for Liberal Party candidates.
Her bodyguard and driver, brothers Nestor and Bartolome Velasco, died in the incident. Another person was also reportedly killed, while a cop who was part of Ruthie's security detail was hurt. - Rappler.com