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NPA to go after Samar councilor for ‘extortion’

April 20, 2010 12:00pm

The outlawed New People’s Army (NPA) will go after a local councilor in Eastern Samar for allegedly posing as a communist rebel in extorting money from local candidates.

NPA Sergio Lobina Command spokesman Ka Rubio Manggubat accused Urbano "Pater" Barbo of also being an agent of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

"The (Army’s) 8th Infantry Division has been spreading lies about the NPA’s so-called ‘permit to campaign’ and ‘permit to win.’ Yet the real extortionist in Eastern Samar is the military in the person of Barbo, who is not only a Balangkayan councilor but also an identified agent of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. While the military has been slamming the NPA during the election, Barbo and his criminal gang have been demanding money from candidates by using the name of the CPP-NPA-NDF and Fr. Santiago Salas, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas," Manggubat said in a statement on the Communist Party of the Philippines website.

Reached for comments, Barbo denied the allegations, describing the issues hurled against him as political, discriminating, and fabricated. "God knows who I am. And people in Eastern Samar know what I am doing for them," he told GMANews.TV.

"Malinis ang konsensya ko. Di ako natatakot. Why? Wala tayong kasalanan. Nagpapagamit ang NPA sa politiko (My conscience is clear. I am not afraid. Why? It's because I have not committed any wrongdoing. The NPAs are being used by politicians)," Barbo added.

'Henchmen'

Manggubat said Barbo’s gang allegedly operates in the towns of Balangiga, Salcedo and Giporlos, and likely other parts of Eastern Samar.

"Since Barbo’s criminal activities cover a considerable area, it is possible that the military is abetting and encouraging him to share in his loot, as well as to smear the good reputation of the NPA," he said.

He identified one of Barbo’s "henchmen" as Dodong Valbuena, who the NPA accused earlier for extorting in its name, as well as a certain "Mappy."

Manggubat said negotiating with the revolutionary movement is "no mere money matter" and must first be based on "respect for the people’s democratic government and the willingness to discuss the problems of the people."

He said Barbo’s crimes "will not go unpunished."

"It is just and legitimate for the NPA to stop Barbo’s extortion activities and arrest, charge and try him before the people’s court for these and other crimes he may be accountable for," he said. — with Carmela Lapeña/RSJ, LBG, GMANews.TV