The 10th Infantry Division engages in horribly inept doublespeak that
merely bolsters the perception that, indeed, the so-called “Order of
Battle” (OB) which includes former National Union of Journalists of
the Philippines secretary general Carlos Conde among more than a
hundred persons belonging to supposed “legal fronts” of the communist
rebel movement not only exists but that such documents clearly pose a
danger to life and limb of whoever is unfortunate enough to be
included in them.
A longwinded statement issued on Tuesday, May 26, by division
spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kurt Decapia, attempts to discredit the
OB that came into the possession of Bayan Muna Representative Satur
Ocampo had been “falsified” and “twisted” out of context by the
lawmaker because he is allegedly part of a plot by the Communist Party
of the Philippines to discredit the military in Southern Mindanao so
as to cancel the headway it claims to have made against the New
People’s Army in the region.
At the same time, the statement also accuses Ocampo of “espionage,” a
charge that implies that, somehow, the Bayan Muna congressman actually
managed to pierce through the military’s notoriously tight shield of
secrecy to obtain what the 10th ID would want us to believe is a
harmless briefing document that the lawmaker made sinister by
supposedly insinuating that the category of “targeted,” under which
Mr. Conde and the NUJP fall, means he is marked for death.
The 10th ID statement then goes on to explain that “targeted” actually
means targeted for infiltration by the CPP.
But had not the 10th ID, in fact, already denied the existence of the document?
So, which is which? Is there or is there not an OB?
It is also frightening how the statement quotes division commander
Major General Reynaldo Mapagu as openly accusing Ocampo and the
International Solidarity Mission that the lawmaker accompanied to
Davao of being part of a grand communist plot to win back areas the
military says it has liberated from the rebels.
Last we looked, civilian supremacy over the military was supposed to
be sacrosanct. But here is an Army general, with the manpower and
firepower to back him up, publicly affirming what UN special
rapporteur Philip Alston noted, that the military indeed openly
vilifies legal personalities and organizations as enemies of the
state, thus making them fair game in the counterinsurgency campaign.
It is equally alarming how the 10th ID continues to pass off
inaccuracy as “intelligence.”
The division insists that “Carlos Conde is the Secretary General of
the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and serves
as the organization’s coordinator in Davao City and Southern
The division’s statement says: “Carlos Conde is the Secretary General
of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and
serves as the organization’s coordinator in Davao City and Southern
Mindanao. In the document presented by Satur Ocampo, the NUJP headed
by Mr. Conde is categorized as ‘targeted,’ which means that it is
identified as one of the many organizations targeted for infiltration
by the CPP/NPA and the same reason it being in the document along with
the other organizations/personalities in the ‘falsified’ document.”
But as we have already pointed out, Mr. Conde is the FORMER secretary
general and Southern Mindanao coordinator of NUJP.
What is particularly chilling is that this does not appear to be a
case of simple oversight. There is an apparently deliberate attempt by
the 10th ID to, as Mr. Conde has pointed out in a statement of his
own, “insist that I am a stooge of the Left who can be manipulated to
spread falsehood about the military. The implication of this is that,
journalist or not, I am aiding the enemies of the state and, thus,
The implications of this for Mr. Conde are bad enough. But we also
worry for the more than 800 members of the NUJP nationwide,
particularly those in Davao and Southern Mindanao, who, because of the
10th ID’s irrational recalcitrance, are now endangered.
We have been receiving reports from our colleagues in the region that
some of them have been placed under surveillance while at least one
has been directly threatened.
Such developments, accompanied by the latest rant of the 10th ID, only
serves to prod us into considering a reassessment of our position
about the murders of journalists under this administration – 64 deaths
since 2001, the worst death tool under any sitting president.
We have time and again said that we have seen no indication that these
killings have official blessings, unlike the slaughter of activists
and dissenters. But the fact that military units and officers like
Mapagu openly label people and groups as enemies of the state without
being sanctioned indicates at the very least a tacit approval.
Should any harm befall Mr. Conde and our colleagues in Southern
Mindanao, we will hold this administration, the 10th ID, and Major
General Mapagu personally, responsible.
We demand that the defense department and the Armed Forces leadership
prove their oft-repeated pronouncements of respect for human rights
and the rule of law to take immediate action to discipline Mapagu for
making a mockery of the soldier’s pledge to serve and protect the
We also call on our colleagues to unite and stand firm against the
continuing threats to our freedoms and liberties and all other
attempts to curtail the practice of our profession in the service of
the people’s right to know.
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