Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Volume 3,  Number 30              August 31 - September 6, 2003            Quezon City, Philippines


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“Rotten from top to bottom”
Defections Hit AFP

When asked about reports on soldiers allegedly embracing the ideals of the revolutionary movement, a military official dismissed it as mere “website propaganda.” Not so easy to dismiss however is the report that last month, two platoons of paramilitary men and two army soldiers ransacked the armory of three detachments in Mindanao and deserted en masse.


In a statement sent through email, the National Democratic Front-Mindanao last week revealed that two platoons of the Citizens Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) and two soldiers belonging to the Charlie Company of the 29th Infantry Battalion (Philippine Army) left their posts and turned over to the New People’s Army one M203 grenade launcher, two M16 rifles, two M14 rifles and five Garand rifles.

Maj. Gen. Cristolito Balaoing, Army’s 4th Infantry Division commander, confirmed during an interview also last week with Bombo Radyo that the defection was real.

The defectors reportedly complained of constant threats and physical maltreatment, rampant corruption such as the delay or non-issuance of their military and food supplies, delay and reduction of their salaries and allowances; and abuse against women.

NDF-Mindanao said the group was led by Cpl. Edward Querante and Pfc. “Boboy” Abuhasad who expressed their grievances to the NPA against the senior officers of the Charlie coy, 29th Infantry Battalion.

Not the first time

NDF Mindanao spokesperson Ka (comrade) Oris revealed this was not the first time soldiers defected to the NPA. In July, a squad of AFP regulars reportedly deserted from the same army company of the 29th IB, followed later by another group of Cafgu members who have similar complaints.

He said it proves that the AFP is “rotten from top to bottom.”

Ka Oris also called on all “well-meaning and patriotic” soldiers and officers of the AFP, PNP and Cafgu to join the people in exposing and opposing the “corrupt and reactionary character” of the AFP.

“You may coordinate your complaints openly or clandestinely with the local masses and NPA units in the area. To those who wish to serve the interest of the people outside the AFP service, the NPA welcomes you to its fold,” said Ka Oris.

Secret group

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has revealed that a secret society of officers, soldiers and policemen have embraced their ideals and have been covertly helping the communist movement since the 1970’s. In its Aug. 21 issue, the CPP’s official publication, Ang Bayan, described the group as “enlightened officers and men of the AFP and police who support the national democratic revolution.”

Martin Montana, spokesperson of the Cordillera-based Chadli Molintas Command of the CPP-NPA, meanwhile said the group is called Lt. Crispin Tagamolila Movement (LCTM), named after young PMA graduate Lt. Tagamolila who defected to the NPA during the early 1970’s. 

Tagamolila, an Army officer, trained NPA guerillas in Cagayan and Isabela provinces in Region 2. He was later killed in an encounter with government troops and the CPP-NPA Northeastern Luzon front was named after him.

According to the underground publication, LCTM members have for a number of years now been giving the NPA with invaluable information and support. The article does not elaborate on the kind of support the alleged group gives.

Montana enjoined other officers and men of the military and police “either to defect to the NPA and serve the people, or join the clandestine organization in the midst of the controversies hounding the military organization after the celebrated Oakwood mutiny last month by junior officers.” 

Military blind on LCTM?

Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Rodolfo Garcia acknowledged that the AFP has received such information long ago but it was not validated. “It may not be true,” he said.

Garcia who headed the Northern Luzon Command based in Tarlac before he was appointed as the second in command of the Philippine military, admitted he does not know if the organization (if there really is) is still existing.

NOLCOM spokesperson Lt. Col. Preme Monta meanwhile simply brushed off reports about the existence of the LCTM.  Website propaganda lang ng NPA yan,” he said.

Army Lt. Col. Elmer Quiros, a former intelligence office of the Philippine Army in Region 2 where Tagamolila supposedly operated as a defector, also claimed he has no information to validate the information. 

Quiros, who is now assigned in AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo said the intelligence community has no information about the clandestine organization. Bulatlat.com

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