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Gonzales: War among CPP factions sparked killings

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales on Sunday alleged the recent spate of killings of left-leaning leaders in the countryside were offshoots of a continuing war between armed factions of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Gonzales, in a press statement, said a document recovered by the military's Southern Luzon Command in an undated anti-insurgency operation in Tagkawayan, Quezon would prove his theory. He said the document was allegedly entitled "Paglilinis ng Bushfire sa mga Nakapasok na mga Ahente ng Kaaway" and dated April 7, 2006. The document allegedly stated that the killings of leftist leaders were part of a new purge ordered by the CPP to cleanse its ranks of suspected infiltrators. Gonzales claimed the document strongly indicated that many of the killings were a result of a continuing war between the pro-Jose Ma. Sison reaffirmists (RA) and the anti-Sison rejectionists (RJ). Sison is the founder of the CPP. He noted that most of the murdered leaders belonged to organizations loyal to Sison like the Bayan, Bayan Muna, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Gabriela and other aligned groups. The recent spate of killings in the countryside, Gonzales said, were reminiscent of those carried out by the sparrow units of the Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) during the late 1980s. "Like today's assassins, the ABB Sparrows then also worked in pairs, riding on motorcycles," he said, noting reports that most of the slain militant leaders were killed by armed motorcycle-riding men who identities were concealed by ski masks. He claimed that when the anti-Sison RJs separated from the pro-Sison RAs, they were joined by the ABB assassination squads who killed more than 200 police and military personnel in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces in non-combat situations in the 1980s. "It is therefore probable that most of the political activists killed since 2003 were done to avenge the assassination of RJ leaders (Felimon) Lagman, (Romulo) Kintanar and (Arturo) Tabara, which were all owned by the NPA (New Peoples' Army)," Gonzales said. He also cited intelligence reports stating that even within the RAs, "there is a growing schism between the camps of two conjugal dictatorships, those of the Sisons on one hand and of the Tiamzons on the other, and that this rivalry may have contributed to the series of slaying of radical activists. Benito Tiamzon is the vice chair of CPP while his wife, Wilma, is the secretary general." He did not elaborate. Gonzales appealed to media organizations to help "unmask the extreme Left's politics of violence and deceit," which he insisted was "behind the spate of extra-judicial killings of militants." "Let freedom of the press now mean the courage to seek the truth and expose the deceitful strategy of these people to capture power," he said. He lamented that media’s alleged failure to "ask the right questions" or failure to "probe militants who already admit to the unity of their armed and parliamentary struggles" have led to public condemnation of the military and the police, whom he noted have been blamed for the killings. "While the CPP and its military arm, the NPA, assassinate members of rival groups, kill their own cadres, kidnap and torture their victims, [and] yet they easily escape indictment as human rights abusers" allegedly because of the way media reports the events, Gonzales claimed.-GMANews.TV