MANILA, Philippines — Communist rebels accused government forces of executing a leading cadre, another guerrilla, and two civilians in Sorsogon late last week and said were holding President Rodrigo Duterte “criminally responsible for the Casiguran massacre.”
The information bureau of the Communist Party of the Philippines, in a statement Thursday, said Andres “Ka Magno” Hubilla, “who headed the Party committee in Sorsogon and guided the Celso Minguez Command” of the New People’s Army, and rebel fighter Miguel “Ka Billy” Himor, were unarmed and with local residents Arnel Borres and Dick Laura when police and soldiers raided their “temporary resting place” in Barangay Trece Martirez, Casiguran last Friday, July 28.
“They had Ka Magno and others under their overwhelming power. Ka Magno’s hands were raised. There was no exchange of gunfire,” the CPP statement said. “However, the military and police opened fire and executed them in cold-blood, in violation even of the PNP and AFP’s own rules of engagement.”
Aside from the deaths of the two rebels, the CPP said “the killing of civilians Borres and Laura, a local tiller and fisherman, are outright violations of international humanitarian law,” which mandates that “the rights and lives of civilians in time of war should be protected and upheld.”
The two civilians, claimed the rebels, were killed “in an apparent effort to eliminate witnesses to their crime.”
In blaming Duterte, the CPP noted: “A few days ago, it was Duterte himself who ordered his men to kill NPA fighters instead of arresting them in total disregard of the international laws on the conduct of war.”
The CPP described Hubilla, “a former history schoolteacher and torture victim of Marcos’ martial law” who also went by the alias “Ka Carlo,” as “a beloved son of the masses” who was “known by practically every poor peasant in Sorsogon among whom he ate, laughed and lived with.”