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(Updated 6:45 p.m., 22 July 2012) Around 30 skeletal remains of people believed by the Army to have been slain by the New People’s Army during its purges in the 1980’s were unearthed from a common grave in the Bondoc peninsula of Quezon province Sunday.
Army spokesman Maj. Harold Cabunoc said dozens of people from the area were reported missing in the mid 1980s when the NPA implemented ‘Plan Missing Link,’ a purging operation meant to cleanse the organization of military spies, or so-called "deep-penetration agents" (DPAs). The NPA purges reportedly took the lives of at least hundreds of cadres and guerrillas around the country suspected of spying for the military, a campaign that divided the leftist movement and haunts Communist leaders to this day.
Cabunoc said the remains in the Bondoc peninsula, a traditional NPA stronghold, were discovered by a farmer while he was plowing his field in San Francisco town.
According to Cabunoc, the farmer first reported the matter to his village’s officials, who in turn coordinated with the military and the police. The Army’s 74th Infantry Battalion and the police exhumed the remains around 8 a.m. on Sunday.
The other names for the purges implemented by the NPA include Kampanyang Ahos, Kadena de Amour, Takip Silim, Zombie, and Olympia, among others.
In 2006, dozens of purported victims of the purges were also exhumed in Inopacan, Leyte. This discovery led to the filing of charges against Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Ma. Sison and former communist leader and now Bayan Muna party-list representative Satur Ocampo for allegedly ordering the killings.
Lt. Col. Dennis Perez, commander of the 74th Infantry Battalion in the Bondoc peninsula, urged the leftist human rights group Karapatan, which has been linking the military to numerous extra-judicial killings, to denounce the alleged killings by the NPA.
Karapatan spokesperson Tinay Palabay, however, said that the AFP should conduct its investigation first before linking any sector to the supposed mass grave.
“These gimmicks of mass graves are already outdated. We fear na baka humantong na naman ito sa mga hindi makatarungang pag-aakusa at pag-aresto,” she said in a phone interview. — DVM/HS, GMA News