Justice for Rebelyn Pitao

Karapatan strongly condemns the abhorrent and despicable abduction and summary execution of Rebelyn M. Pitao, the 20 year-old daughter of Leoncio Pitao a.k.a. New People's Army (NPA) Commander Parago.

“She being the daughter of a member of an armed party to the conflict does not warrant the atrocity done to her. The manner and pattern of Rebelyn’s killing bore the standard signs of the extrajudicial killings committed by the military. Only those state security forces could commit such treacherous crime,” Karapatan Secretary General Marie Hilao-Enriquez said. “This is a cowardly act; the perpetrators could not get her father in the mountains, so they abducted the daughter instead.”

At around 6:30 in the evening of March 4, 2009, Rebelyn was abducted in Davao City.  The following day, March 5, her body was found thrown in a river in Carmen, Davao del Norte.  Based on the initial findings of the autopsy conducted by the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) Dr.Tomas Dimaandal, Jr., Rebelyn’s eyes were badly bruised and bleeding that may be due to a blow from a hard object. She had a 3-centimeter ligature mark in the neck. She sustained 5 stab wounds (possible weapon ice pick):  2 above the left breast, one of which hit the lungs; two wounds under the left breast, one of which pierced through the liver and another one in the diaphragm which also hit the liver.

She had lacerations around her genital area which may have been caused by the insertion of a hard object. Traces of blood were also found that may be due to the embalming fluids, no traces of sperm were detected.

According to Karapatan, Rebelyn was a citizen of good standing working as a substitute teacher in St. Peter College in Toril, Davao City. She may have shared the ideals and dreams of her father but she chose to pursue it in another way different from what her father chose.  

“This horrendous act is a continuation of the dirty war being conducted by the AFP against insurgency. First, they targeted leaders of progressive people’s organizations accusing them as legal fronts, now, would this be another trend? Going after the families of known NPA leaders?”  Enriguez asked in conclusion.##