By Marco Paolo Blancaflor – Bacolod City, Neg. Occ.
On July 17, 1987, Juanito Nepomuceno and Gabriel Blancaflor were plowing the former’s rice field in rural Victorias City, Negros Occidental, when a group of at least ten armed people approached them. The two disappeared and haven’t been found since then. Even their remains were not found. It was later proven (according to an eye witness who later surfaced), that the group who took them were members of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in Northern Negros.
The reason why the rebel group kidnapped and probably killed them was not known until today.
Nepomuceno left his wife with three minor children, and Blancaflor orphaned a son and daughter.
In the following month of the same year, Teofila Lachica of Silay City, Negros Occidental disappeared while returning from the City’s public market. After knowing that his wife has disappeared, on the same day, Antonio Lachica gathered his four daughters and left their home immediately. They walked more than eight kilometers under heavy rain to reach the Barangay proper where transportation going to town is available.
Antonio suspected that his wife might have been murdered by his neighbor with whom his family has a land dispute. It was later revealed that the NPA took and murdered his wife. Her remains were never found.
Antonio left more than seven hectares of coffee, coconut, and banana plantation and never returned.
The eldest daughter, Jenny was in her senior high school when they left the area.
Through the help of their mother’s sister who was working in the US, all four managed to finished college.
Jenny became a Certified Public Accountant. Margie, the second daughter became a public school teacher and is now working as Assistant Professor in a State University in Iloilo. The third one Marjorie became an agriculturist and has been employed by the government since 1996, and the youngest Diana became a CPA and later a lawyer.
In July 1999, I met Diana and we became inseparable until today.
After 14 years since my father (Gabriel Blancaflor), and Diana’s mother (Teofila Lachica) disappeared, we decided to bring separate cases to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
Together with 56 other families of NPA victims in Negros Occidental, we formed a group to handle our case with CHR. We have seven lawyers (2 are also children of NPA victims).
Since 2003, the Commission on Human Rights has been deaf and blind when it comes to our cases and the cases of other NPA victims.
The CHR has been telling us that people who were allegedly killed by the rebel NPA were not subject to human rights because it is different from alleged atrocities done by government people. It seems that CHR deals only with the alleged victims of government abuse, and not the atrocities done by other notorious criminals like NPA.
It is a head-scratching why the CHR exists until today when it is becoming useless.
The New People’s Army has, directly and indirectly, killed more than a dozen thousand people since Marcos was ousted, yet the CHR has not done a single action.
Is this because most people who became CHR commissioners support the NPA?
The previous commissioner Etta Rosales was an activist and a known Marcos critic. The same can be said with the current commissioner in the name of Chito Gascon. (oh, by the way, Rosales death is a major success for NPA victims)
These activists who supported communism during their college years are the same people why the country is still suffering at the hands of Joma Sison and his created social cancer – the New People’s Army.
The CHR is no different from leftist groups that support communism. Their real jobs to promote human rights are being clouded by their personal interest.
The government should really consider abolishing this useless independent agency as soon as possible.
Even Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda Acosta has also castigated the CHR for seemingly promoting the activities of the terror group (Abu Sayyaf), by launching an investigation into the death of one of its members at the hands of the police.
Acosta blew her top after the CHR office in Central Visayas created a fact-finding group to probe the circumstances leading to the death of Abu Saad, a captured Abu Sayyaf bandit in Bohol who was killed in a reported escape try. The feisty lawyer said that if the CHR can probe the Abu Sayyaf members’ death, it must also not forget the terror group’s atrocities, such as the beheading of its captives.
“Ang suggestion ko sa CHR, kung iimbestigahan nila ang mga napatay na Abu Sayyaf during encounters o kaya in the hands of law enforcers during their detention, imbestigahan din sana nila ’yung mga sitwasyon na ang Abu Sayyaf namumugot ng ulo, pumapatay at kondenahin din nila ang Abu Sayyaf, para patas po. Kasi baka ang maging dating lang — pasintabi sa CHR — mas palalakasin mo ang advocacy ng Abu Sayyaf kesa sa advocacy ng pulis,” she said.
CR is good only at criticizing the government and nothing else. This office must be destroyed ASAP so the government can use the funds for other useful things.
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