By Jigger J. Jerusalem
THE recent discovery of the remains of a New People’s Army female combatant suggests that the internal purging among the ranks of the communist movement is still going on, an Army officer posited.
This internal liquidation was leaked by former NPA fighters to the Philippine Army as soldiers from the 1st Special Forces Company and the local police based in Bukidnon retrieved the cadaver of an insurgent believed to be killed by her companions.
Soldiers and police recovered the body of one Merlyn Panta, also known as Genevive, a medic of the Sentro de Grabidad unit of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 68 of the North Central Mindanao Regional Command.
Panta, the statement from the 1st Special Forces company said, was murdered by a fellow fighter on suspicion that she was spying for the military.
This was revealed by a surrenderee who the Army only identified as “Bandido” and who pointed Panta’s murder to a certain Jovelito Pontillas Jr.
Pontillas is said to be an official of the Sub-Regional Operation Command of the NPA’s Sub-Regional Committee 4.
Lt. Col. Sergio Maca-randan, 1st Special Forces battalion commander, said the NPA has not recovered from the paranoia that there are moles within its force.
“They continued purging in their ranks to the suspected spies through intimidation, torture and death,” Macarandan said.
For his part, Brigadier Gen. Edgardo de Leon, commander of the Army’s 403rd Brigade, said “The snowball of NPA surrenders is an indication of the failing communist ideology.”