Sep 162014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/06/09MANILA1204.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA1204
2009-06-05 06:58
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO1251
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1204/01 1560658
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 050658Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4291
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001204

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/05/2019
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL RP
SUBJECT: NPA ADMITS TO KILLING ITS OWN

REF: MANILA 563: BRUTAL MURDER INVESTIGATED AS
EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLING

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, Reasons 1.4 (a) & (b)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: In what may signal an internal power
struggle within its ranks, or a message intended for those
they believe are cooperating with Philippine authorities, the
New People’s Army (NPA) recently admitted responsibility for
killing one of their veteran officials and the sister of an
NPA commander. The NPA admitted May 23 to killing Evelyn
Pitao-Dadula, the sister of local NPA commander Leoncio
Pitao, accusing her of being a long-time intelligence agent
for the Philippine military. In early March, the NPA
assassinated Eleizer Billanes, a veteran official of several
organizations affiliated with the Communist Party of the
Philippines (CPP), claiming he had embezzled CPP funds. The
NPA had originally accused the Philippine military of
carrying out both killings, but has now publicly acknowledged
its role in Pitao-Dadula’s and Billanes’s murders. While NPA
fratricide is not unknown, it is unusual for the NPA to
publicly acknowledge its complicity in the killing of its own
officials. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (U) The New People’s Army (NPA) on May 26 admitted
responsibility for the murder of Evelyn Pitao-Dadula, the
sister of the Davao del Norte Province NPA commander, Leoncio
Pitao. A statement on the NPA website outlined that
Pitao-Dadula was killed for “political crimes against the
people and the revolutionary movement.” According to the
website, the decision to execute Pitao-Dadula was made and
upheld by the “People’s Court of the Communist Party of the
Philippines.” Pitao-Dadula was accused by the NPA of being a
long-time intelligence agent for the Philippine military and
was killed May 23 in Davao Del Norte Province for her “blood
debts.” According to the NPA, these alleged crimes included
providing the Philippine military with information that led
to the arrest of one of her brothers in 1999, the murder of
another brother in 2008, and the early 2009 murder of her
former husband — all of whom were NPA members. In carrying
out Pitao-Dadula’s assassination, the NPA also killed her
current husband. The NPA later apologized for his death,
admitting that his murder was “not in accordance with
international humanitarian law.”

¶3. (C) The assassination of Pitao-Dadula was the second
killing to befall the Pitao family this year. In early
March, Rebelyn Pitao, the 20 year-old daughter of Leoncio
Pitao and the niece of Evelyn Pitao-Dadula, was found
murdered in Davao del Norte Province after she was reportedly
abducted, tortured, and raped by armed men. Her father, a
long-time NPA commander in the province, accused the
Philippine military and the Arroyo administration of her
murder. In a private meeting with the Ambassador, Secretary
of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro and then Philippine
Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Alexander Yano expressed
revulsion at the murder and affirmed their commitment to
conduct a thorough investigation into the crime (reftel). No
arrests have yet been made in the case. The Davao City
police and the Commission on Human Rights in Davao have
attempted to investigate the incident, but have told Embassy
officials that they have had little cooperation from local
Philippine military officials while pursuing this
investigation.

¶4. (C) In early March, the NPA publicly admitted
responsibility for killing veteran official Eleizer Billanes,
accusing him of embezzling funds from several organizations
affiliated with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The NPA claimed that Billanes was a Philippine “military
asset.” In the immediate wake of Billanes’s assassination,
the NPA vigorously accused the Philippine government of
“masterminding” his death. Their accusations were so
successful that many human rights groups likewise blamed the
Philippine government for orchestrating the murder. It was
only after the NPA publicly admitted their role in Billanes’s
killing that human rights organizations ceased to accuse the
police and military of complicity in the crime. Informed
sources later confirmed that the NPA had carefully
choreographed the planning of both the assassination and the
subsequent propaganda campaign accusing the military of his
murder.

¶5. (C) COMMENT: The NPA has waged a four-decade-long war
against a succession of Philippine administrations. Starting
out as a guerrilla movement based on communist principles,
the NPA has gradually degenerated into acts such as extortion
and kidnappings-for-hire with criminal rather than
ideological motives. The NPA’s recent admission of killing

MANILA 00001204 002 OF 002

its own members likely indicates either an internal power
struggle, or an attempt to purge members it perceives as
having cooperated with Philippine authorities. Additionally,
the NPA’s confirmation of their role in the murders of two
well-known members in Davao del Norte Province has led many
to speculate that the murder of Rebelyn Pitao may have been
sanctioned by the NPA as well.
KENNEY

   

 

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