CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) says National Democratic Front peace consultant Pedro Codaste was abducted and summarily executed by the military in Bukidnon, debunking military claims that he died in battle.
Marco Valbuena, CPP chief information office, said that based on initial reports they have gathered, Codaste, also known as Ka Gonyong and Ka Serv, was “detached from the New People’s Army since August 2021 to convalesce from various ailments and was staying in a house somewhere in Bukidnon.”
Communications with Ka Gonyong was cut on January 19, during which he was likely taken by state agents, Valbuena said.
In all likelihood, he said, Codaste was subjected to torture before he was summarily executed.
A report provided by the military to reporters quoted Lt. Col. Neil Armstrong Batayola, commander of the Army’s 16th Infantry Battalion, as saying Codaste and his companion known as Ka Sandro were killed during a 30-minute gunfight in Barangay Kalabugao, also in Impasugong on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022.
Batayola said police and soldiers responded to a call from concerned citizens in Kalabugao regarding “an armed group conducting atrocities in the area.”
However, the NPA unit in the area said no such encounter took place in Kalabugao during that day, Valbuena said.
The CPP said they denounce the murders of at least 15 revolutionaries committed by government forces since early 2020 who were either captured or were unarmed. This include NPA spokesperson Jorge Madlos (Ka Oris) who was killed with his medic in Impasugong, Bukidnon after they were abducted last October 29, 2021, and CPP leader Menandro Villanueva, who was captured alive in an armed encounter in Davao de Oro in December, but was declared killed by the AFP last January 6, 2022.
Valbuena saluted Codaste, whom he said has served the revolutionary movement for more than 50 years. The movement said Codaste has lived past 70.
“His lifelong commitment to serve the workers and peasants will forever inspire the new generation of revolutionary fighters to persevere along the arduous path of resistance to fight for the people’s national and democratic aspirations,” Valbuena added. (davaotoday.com)