Rebelyn: rebel leader's daughter dead at 20

“Two stab wounds here, above the breast, one of which hit the lung; two under the breast, one of which hit the liver, another one here… five stab wounds from an ice pick.. markings from a three-centimeter rope around her neck… eyes blindfolded using a packing tape, apparently hit by a blunt object,”  Evangeline says in Cebuano, describing how “grabe ka-brutal” (very brutal) the “evil, vicious men from the military intelligence group” were  to her daughter.

“Gilamigas na mam gud daw na sya,” her body was infested with ants when found, her elder sister Rio, a nurse, explains to friends asking what happened to Rebelyn’s left wrist.

Evangeline Maasin Pitao, Rebelyn's mother. MindaNews photo courtesy of Rene B. Lumawag, Pixels & Cutlines

Evangeline says her daughter violated no law, harmed no one and was “prayerful.”  She taught elementary students – Grade 2 and Grade 6 — as a substitute teacher at the St. Peter’s College in Toril and her mother says she was due to be a regular teacher, soon.

Her only “crime,” if at all that is a crime, is having been a daughter of Leoncio Pitao alias Parago,  an elusive commander of the New People’s Army (NPA) who has put to shame many a promising military official  in the last two decades.

Evangeline blames her daughter’s abduction Wednesday night and her having been found dead the next day on  the “evil, vicious, military intelligence group, 100 per cent.”

In response to Evangeline’s accusation, Major Randolph Cabangbang, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command told MindaNews, “we are cooperating with the Philippine National Police in their investigation. We are also having our own investigation.”

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in a statement signed by NDFP peace panel chair Luis Jalandoni held President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita “responsible for this dastardly violation of Rebelyn Pitao's right to life.”

“It is likewise a blatant violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law,” he said, adding that Arroyo’s and Ermita’s “frustrated satanic desire to defeat the New People's Army and in particular kill or capture NPA Commander Parago, nom de guerre of Leoncio Pitao, has led them to commit grave violations of international humanitarian law and the CARHRIHL. In June of last year, the brother of Commander Parago, Danilo, was abducted and killed in Tagum City.”

Grandma weeps. MindaNews photo courtesy of Rene B. Lumawag/Pixels & Cutlines

Rio says she, Rebelyn and their brothers — Ryan, the eldest; Reynante, after Ivy and the youngest, Redford — have had to live with  military surveillance since their father was arrested in the late 1990s. But between the girls, it was Rebelyn who had a routine of home to school, school to home. Evangeline says Rebelyn would leave the house at 6:30 in the morning and be home by 6:30 p.m. or by 7. Rio’s eight-hour shift schedule at a government hospital downtown was erratic it made surveillance by anyone, problematic.

Rebelyn’s routine or pattern was easy to follow.  From school, she would go to t
he tricycle terminal along the highway for the six-peso ride home to Bago Galera. That was the same routine she followed on Wednesday night.

Evangeline narrates that based on the account of motorcycle driver Danny Pelicano, Rebelyn, boarded his tricycle first. Over the years, drivers and passengers on this route have become familiar with each other.

Pelicano said a man who was not a regular passenger, entered and sat in front of Rebelyn. Another man entered and sat beside the driver. A female passenger also boarded the vehicle. They were still waiting for one more passenger when one of the men said he’d pay for the vacant seat.

Some 300 meters from the highway,  along a dark, deserted portion of the road, somebody from a parked white van flagged the tricycle and together with the two male passengers who rode with them from the highway,  forcibly dragged Rebelyn into the van, Pelicano reported.

The female passenger managed to run. Pelicano said he was warned he would be killed if he ran. As he was running, he said, he heard Rebelyn scream for help.

Pelicano reported the abduction to the nearest police station before informing Rebelyn’s family.

Rebelyn was found dumped late Thursday afternoon in an irrigation canal somewhere in San Isidro, Upper Tuganay, Carmen, Davao del Norte  and was brought to the Villa Funeral parlor in Panabo City.

Rio recalls her mother received a text message from a reporter about a corpse at the funeral parlor. Evangeline says that when the body was described, she immediately knew it was her daughter. They rushed to the funeral parlor in Panabo City, some 30 kilometers away and saw her in the morgue late Thursday night. The body was brought to Davao City.

An autopsy  has been conducted but as of 2 p.m. Thursday, the result had not been made available. A cartographic sketch of one of the male passengers has been released, based on the tricycle driver’s description.

“If they are angry because they can’t get my husband, they should go up the mountains and look for my husband there.”

Evangeline says her husband has communicated with her by mobile phone and his first question was if  it was Rebelyn at the Villa Funeral Parlor.

Before she  lost a daughter, she had almost lost her eldest son to “evil, vicious men of the military intelligence group.”

“Natulak pabukid” (Pushed to go up the mountains) was how Evangeline describes what happened to Ryan, a graduate of automotive school and a “habal-habal” (commercial) motorcycle driver.

Harassed by suspected military intelligence agents about two years ago, Ryan felt it was safer up in the mountains with his father. He has since joined the revolutionary movement that his father had long embrace, his mother acknowledges.

“Way magrebelde kung walay magdaug-daug,” (There will be no rebels if there are no tyrants), Evangeline said, adding if  killing of  innocent civilians goes on, “dili maundang ang rebolusyon,”(there will be no end to revolution).  (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)