More than apologies
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
Where in the world can a group of so-called rebels brutally massacre nine people, including a policeman; injure 12 others, including a 14-year-old boy; and expect to get away with such a heinous crime by issuing a simple apology and offering to provide financial assistance to the families of the civilians that they killed?
The Leonardo Panaligan Command of the New People’s Army that finally admitted responsibility for the massacre in Barangay Puso, La Castellana on January 27 apparently would like to imagine that they are still involved in a legitimate war, where killing civilians is all right for as long as they apologize, offer financial assistance to the victims, and promise to take some sort of disciplinary action against the military unit responsible for the incident.
The group claims that their purpose for stopping the Barangay Puso truck that was carrying policemen, tanods and civilians was to disarm those on board of their high powered weapons but, in the process, civilians were killed and their brutality became evident by the way they shot their victims in the head before fleeing.
They may have had a legitimate cause three decades ago, but at this day and age, what exactly are these people fighting for? What conditions have to be met before they decide to finally stop the destruction and death that they insist is necessary for their vague cause? What sets them apart from bandits and terrorists, and why should they be above the law that the rest us submit to? Furthermore, what have they done to earn the power to determine how much a human life is worth and what the punishment for murdering civilians should be?
The NPA has to understand that, without a cause that the general public can truly relate with, the continued senseless killing of more people, whether civilians or “legitimate targets”, will not stop their march to irrelevance just as mere apologies and compensation without true justice won’t make up for coldblooded murder. If this heinous incident has forced the NPA leadership to conduct serious soul searching regarding their reason for being and lead to the cessation of hostilities, that might prove to be more valuable to us than an apology and offers of financial assistance for the families of their innocent victims.*