Haciendero commander-in-chief and butcher army chief, a deadly combination

"We are enraged but not surprised that a butcher-like Gen. Eduardo Año should serve as army chief of a ruthless haciendero president in their bid to ‘crush communist insurgency by the end of 2016," Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said. "For a government that survives through the use of armed violence and disdains human rights, it is expected that BS Aquino will appoint the most brutal of his soldiers," Palabay said. 

"This government is far worse than its predecessor. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo didn't have the nerve to promote Gen. Palparan to a position as high as army chief; but this president had the gall to appoint a Palparan clone who is equally tainted with numerous violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,"Palabay said. 

Palabay said the new army chief was absolved by the Aquino regime from any accountability on the disappearance of Jonas Burgos who was abducted during Arroyo’s presidency.

“It has always been easy for the government to simply kill or arrest perceived enemies than to address the real causes of the armed conflict. The road to the cemetery is shorter than the road to genuine peace and real progress and development that serve the poor majority of our people,” added Palabay.

As army chief, Gen. Año vowed anew to crush the communist insurgency in the same way he promised to have a ‘decisive win’ against the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao when he was appointed as head of the 10th Infantry Division. “But, like Palparan, Año turned his gun against civilians.” Such was the case of the massacre of Lumad leaders in Paquibato District, Davao City on June 14.  Datu Ruben Enlog, Randy Carnasa and Oligario Quimbo were killed during the 69th ID’s shooting spree.

“Also, since Gen. Año’s deployment in Mindanao, the re-formation of various paramilitary groups increased. For this year alone, the armed group Alamara has victimized a number of civilians such as the Martir family in Kapalong, Davao del Norte. Alamara is supported and armed by the Philippine Army in the area," Palabay said. 

"Even his so-called trophies—the capture of the Tiamzon couple, Adelberto Silva, and Ruben Saluta—all peace consultants of the National Democratic Front are actually violations of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). Even the killing of NPA Commander Leoncio Pitao and his medic Vanessa Limpag is a big cheat, instead of a win as it violated international humanitarian law. The BS Aquino regime is gloating over its own violations,” she added.