MANILA, Philippines – The communist New People’s Army (NPA) has admitted imposing the death penalty on 48-year-old Patrick Wineger, a businessman linked to the murder of Italian priest Fr Fausto “Pops” Tentorio.
In a statement Thursday, March 8, the NPA’s Merardo Arce Command commended the communist group’s Herminio Alfonso Command for implementing the capital punishment order against Wineger.
NPA operatives killed the businessman at 7:40 am Wednesday, March 7, in Ladlaran, Villamarzo St, Kidapawan City, according to the group’s statement. Wineger was reportedly armed with a caliber .45 pistol when the NPA killed him.
The NPA said Wineger had long been on its standing order “for his anti-communist activities in North Cotabato, Davao del Sur, and Bukidnon provinces.” The communist group also said Wineger had close ties with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Winiger also allegedly “coddled and financed fanatical and anti-NPA bagani groups, and targeted Fr Fausto ‘Pops’ Tentorio,” according to the NPA. The group said it found text messages in his cellphone that allegedly revealed his role as the handler of paramilitary people linked to Tentorio’s murder.
“With strong grounds that Wineger committed grave offenses against the revolutionary movement, the NPA military tribunal handed down the decision of capital punishment against him,” the NPA said.
“Wineger clearly deserved the NPA’s punishment,” the group explained. “The NPA’s partisan operation against Wineger showed that the fascist enemy cannot escape the long arm of revolutionary justice.”
Rappler is still trying to get AFP’s comments as of posting time.
The AFP has blamed suspected NPA rebels for the killing of Winiger. “Killings are essential tactics for (the NPA) to strengthen the foundation of their party in their locality,” said the Lt Manuel Gatus, civil military operations chief of the AFP’s 57th Infantry Battalion, according to The Mindanao Times.
Col Leopoldo Galon, the AFP’s spokesperson for the Eastern Mindanao Command, described Winiger as a staunch peace advocate and military partner in peace and development efforts since the 1990s, The Mindanao Times added.
‘First step’ toward justice
The group described his death as “a first step toward achieving full revolutionary justice for the beloved Fr. Tentorio.”
“The swift and timely punishment of one of the principals of Fr. Tentorio’s killing stands as a fitting and just retribution amid the false justice dispensed by the US-Aquino regime
Tentorio’s killers gunned him down on Oct 17, 2011, in his convent’s garage. – Rappler.com