NPA's Parago says killers "made a mistake;" vows no retaliation vs military's families

“Nagkamali sila sa ilang gihimo. Mas nidoble hinuon ang among  paningkamot na ipadayon ang among pakig-bisog . Dili lang para sa akong anak kundi apil na ang uban pa nilang gipamatay » (They’re mistaken. This is even doubling our efforts to continue the struggle, not just for my daughter but for the other victims they killed)., he told reporters in the hinterlands of this city Sunday.

Leoncio Pitao aka Parago. Ruby Thursday More/AKP Images

Pitao said he is pained and is "suko kaayo" (very angry) but has accepted his daughter’s fate. "
Pagkakidnap pa lang, gidahum na nako na patyon siya” (When I heard she was kidnapped, I feared they would kill her).

Pitao is as certain as his wife Evangeline that their daughter was killed by the military. But Pitao says they will not harm the families of the perpetrators.

“Wala sa among balaod ang magbalos sa pamilya sa mga sundalo sa gobyerno,” (it’s not in our law to retaliate against the families of government soldiers,” Pitao said.

His wife, Evangeline, told reporters Friday that she was “100 per cent sure” that her daughter was abducted, tortured, raped and stabbed to death by “evil, vicious men of the military intelligence group.”

Rebelyn, 20, a teacher at the St. Peter’s College in Toril, was abducted while on her way home in Bago Gallera early Wednesday evening. She was found dead late Thursday afternoon in an irrigation canal in San Isidro, Carmen, Davao del Norte, her body bearing torture marks. Her mother said she was strangled, tortured, raped, stabbed to death using an ice pick.

Pitao expressed fears what happened to Rebelyn may also happen to other members of his family. “There is a big possibility that the military will kill my family because they could not capture me,” he said.

“Mohilak man ko, dili na mabalik ang kinabuhi ni Rebelyn. Gidawat na nako na kauban na siya sa among pakigbisog. Dili nako talikdan ang katawhan” (Even if I cry,  I will not be able to bring Rebelyn back to life. I have accepted that that is part of our struggle. I will not turn my back on the people), he said.

Pitao said that for years, his family has been under military surveillance.

“Since I joined the NPA., I have been expecting that something will happen to my family. You have to be prepared with all the sacrifices in all aspects when you join the revolution,” he said in Cebuano.

Leoncio has five children – Ryan, Rio, Rebelyn, Reynant and Redford. Rebelyn, a teacher at the St. Peter’s College in Toril, would have turned 21 on March 20.

Pitao’s eldest  son, Ryan, was allegedly hounded by military agents and was almost stabbed in 2005. This incident drove him to join his father in the NPA, he said.

Rebelyn, Pitao said, did not know her father was an NPA commander until she was 11.

“I told my children that I worked abroad. There was a time when I told them I worked for PICOP (Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines in Surigao del Sur),” Pitao said.

In 2000, shortly after his release from prison, Pitao recalled Rebelyn saying, “Pa, abi nako mag-uban na ta hangtud sa hangtud” (Pa, I thought we would be together forevvr and ever).

Pitao also recalled when Rebelyn asked for a new pair of jeans but he couldn’t afford to buy her one. Rebelyn settled for her elder sister’s old pair and did not complain. When he and his wife were finally able to give her a new pair, Rebelyn was so happy and grateful. “Even for the smallest things, Rebelyn never forgot to say ‘thank you.’”

The last time Parago saw his daughter was in December last year near their area here. (Ruby Thursday More/ MindaNews)