AFP-staged “peace rally” in Catubig fake, says NDF-EV
The National Democratic Front – Eastern Visayas exposed as fake the “peace rally” staged by the 20th Infantry Battalion in Catubig town last February 25.
“The AFP-led ‘peace rally’ where soldiers and not ordinary citizens mouthed slogans against the New People’s Army and to which even non-Catubig residents were herded, serves to scapegoat the AFP’s barbarism, mislead the public through staged protests and fake mass actions, and free them of accountability over their murderous killing of two children in Barangay Roxas last February 8,” ” Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson, said.
Based on news reports, participants of the Catubig rally came from towns as far as Lope de Vega, San Isidro, and Mondragon — towns from the first district of the province of Northern Samar, where commuting to Catubig would cost them not less than three hours (excluding travel on foot if they come from barrios) and not less than P500 (excluding motorcycle fare).
“We all know the drill. The Municipal Task Force – Elcac which is actually led by the military coerced, deceived, and/or bribed the attendees to participate in their indignation drama. This pattern is attendant to the countless black propaganda rally of the military in many parts of the region and the country,” Fr. Salas reacted.
Citizens in Catubig town reported that those who hung streamers and placards early in the morning were local policemen clad in civilian clothing.
Even the bereaved families of the victims, survivors, and councilors of Barangay Roxas where the victims lived did not participate in the staged rally. “Anyone from Roxas and the nearby barrios are united in the truth that it was the 20th IB who killed the children. They cannot insult their dead by participating in a fake rally that peddles lies and denies justice to the victims,” Fr. Salas remarked.
Fr. Salas calls for the people of Catubig to stand for truth and justice and denounce AFP’s maneuvers. He also calls on church-based groups as well as institutions concerned with human rights to pursue their onsite investigations and help expose the truth that the 20th IB, the 803rd IBde, the 8th ID and the Duterte regime are the ones responsible for the heinous killing of the Catubig children.
“We cannot afford to stay silent as the Duterte regime’s brand of impunity smites innocent children and civilians,” Fr. Salas ended.