Duterte: "If the perpetrators are from military or police, they did that on their own"

“We in the civilian government are not warriors but amongst warriors, there is always the unwritten rule, ‘do not mess up with the families.’” he said.

“It’s  a no-no. Because guilt is personal. Siya ra. Katong nakasala personal nya na…kanang mga anak di gyud na nimo hilabtan” (Deal with the person who sinned. That’s personal. You should not take it on the children).

Rebelyn, 20, a teacher at the St. Peter’s College in Toril and the third of five children of Evangeline Maasin and Leoncio Pitao alias Parago, chief of the Pulang Bagani Command of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) was abducted  early Wednesday night on board a tricycle, while on her way from school to her home in Bago Gallera, in the southern part of the city. She was found dead in an irrigation canal in San Isidro, Carmen, Davao del Norte late Thursday afternoon, bearing torture marks and five stab wounds from an ice pick. Her mother said that based on autopsy results, Rebelyn was tortured, raped and stabbed to death.

Speaking in mixed English and Cebuano, Duterte said the killing of Rebelyn is “senseless.”

“It is really the work of a monster who did not think what might happen. Whether from military, police or government – city or national – they did not think that by doing that, they make vulnerable the children and the wives of military men and police personnel. That is my biggest problem,” he said.

But Duterte said he is “very sure” that the Communist Party of the Philippines “through its Southern Command would never take it against the wives and  children of military men and our police.”

“Mao tung akong gikagul-an nga panimawsan pud.  Mao bitaw nga  kung kinsa tong nagbuhat niadto… “ (That is what worries me, that there would be retaliation. That is why whoever did this….” Duterte said.

Evangeline blames her daughter’s  death on  the “evil, vicious, military intelligence group, 100 per cent.”

Lt Colonel Rolando JD Bautista, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division, in a press statement on March 7, said they understand the ordeal of the family of Rebelyn “but it would be unfair to blame the incident (on) the military.”

Bautista said Rebelyn’s father may be an enemy of the state “but his family has no part in his atrocious actions and in no way been subject to military operations.”

Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, chief of the 10th Infantry Division, who condemned the“dastardly act perpetrated by criminals against a young woman and a law-abiding citizen,” appeal
ed to the public to “discern what is fact from propaganda. Let us treat this as a mere crime against person wherein anyone is a suspect unless proven otherwise. Both the PNP and the AFP are conducting their own investigation efforts to shed light to the case.”

“Let us remember that Lencio Pitao… is an NPA rebel and is responsible for a lot of atrocities and crimes. His previous actions may be taking its toll on him. We are not discounting the probability at this point that this incident may have been done by groups who have their personal motives,” he said.

Duterte told television viewers that he spoke with Pitao  by telephone when his daughter was reported missing and assured him “I will try my very best to locate your daughter.”

Addressing Pitao, whose nom de guerre is Parago, Duterte said, “Go, migo man ta. Wa na ko mutawag nimo kay di ko kabalo unsa akong isulti nako nimo kay amahan ko. Ug gani imong pangutana nimo di pud  ko katubag” (Go, we are friends. I did not phone you anymore because I do not know what to tell you as a father myself. I may not also be able to answer your questions).

“But we’re trying to investigate. Ginaimbentaryo namo usa-usa karon (We are doing an inventory of each now),” Duterte said. He did not explain to the public what was being inventoried.

Still addressing Pitao, Duterte said, again in a mixture of English and Cebuano: “Let me assure you again that no official in the police, the civilian government, the armed forces,”  the  (the word was bleeped), was behind the abduction-killing.

“Ignoramus nang magsugo ug ingon ana nga manghilabot ug mga anak unya pasipad-an pa gyud,… ug naa man galing diri sa akong gobyerno, o sa national o sa military o police, nibyahe nag ilang kaugalingon and for a reason. Makita man nimo ngadto sa nahitabo sa bata. Mabasa nimo ang utok  nga gipaantos gyud ni but then again that is not.. kung unsa man ang imong atraso sa gobyerno, rebellion man ni…I said I will try my very best to solve (Only an ignoramus could have ordered the abduction, abuse and killing of the child. .. but if ever there are perpetrators within my government, or the national or the military or police, they did that on their own and for a reason. You can see what happened to the child. You can read the mind of the perpetrator, that he made her suffer….whatever it is you have against government, that is rebellion. I said I will try my very best to solve,” Duterte said.

“Mag-istorya mi karon sa amigo nato (We will discuss with our friend),”  Duterte addressed Pitao. He did not name the “amigo” (friend). “Maybe I can come up with a sort of preliminary finding but I assure you, there is no military or police sanction. That can never happen,” the mayor said in the program taped a day earlier and aired Sunday at a10 a.m.

He mentioned another word that was bleeped (the mayor uses foul language which is not allowed in broadcasts)  before he said, “walay militar diha o general magbuhat ug ingon ana…Naa man gani taga militar o police, nibyahe nag ilang kaugalingon and for ulterior and personal reasons. Could be money” (no military or general could have done that. But if the perpetrators include people from the military or police, they did that on their own and for ulterior and personal reasons. Could be money).

He did not elaborate.

“I commiserate with you,” he told Pitao.

He said he and Pitao quarrel over principles. “We can shoot each other but it’s just us. .. There is always a time for war and a time to be friends,” adding he has “the highest of respect for people who go to war as a matter of principle.”

“Saludo ko,” (I salute you), he said.

In the latter part of his talk show,  Duterte returned to the topic on Rebelyn’s killing and said he hopes “to establish formal talks with everybody especially with the Communist Party of the Philippines.”

“I would like to give the assurance… and this goes for the military and police – that we are not happy with what happened. We condemn in the strongest terms, the killing of Commander Parago’s daughter,  and  in the fullness of God’s time, we will know who are the perpetrators and they will be punished correspondingly,” Duterte said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)