Is there or is there not an OB?

May. 28, 2009

By the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
27 May 2009

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 Peoples 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 militarys 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 organizations coordinator in Davao City and Southern Mindanao.

The divisions statement says: Carlos Conde is the Secretary General of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and serves as the organizations 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, fair game.

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 IDs 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 soldiers pledge to serve and protect the people.

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 peoples right to know. #

For Reference:
Nonoy Espina

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