NDF-EV welcomes junking of Leyte ‘travelling bones’ case

This article is available in Waray

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas (NDF-EV) welcomes the decision released by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 junking the decades-long trumped-up case of the “travelling bones” in Leyte lodged against activist leaders and consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

“This decision lays bare the lies, deception, and desperation of the AFP to harass and suppress progressive forces as well as defame the prestige of the revolutionary movement. It is a slap on the face of the AFP that even the courts find their narratives ridiculous and their testimonies highly inconsistent,” NDF-EV said.

The court did not mince words in its 97-page decision released last December 16, characterizing the prosecution’s testimonies as filled with “overwhelming contrarieties and infirmities” and “palpably unreliable.”

“This entire fantasy series of ‘travelling skeletons’ is totally absurd: Once upon a time, the 19th Infantry Battalion–then headed by the ‘massacre general’ Lope Dagoy– discovered in year 2000 a mass grave in Baybay, Leyte of those supposedly purged by the revolutionary movement back in the 1980s. The case was dismissed by the Regional Trial Court in 2005. A year after, soldiers recounted hearing ‘noise from ghosts’ that led them to yet again discover these skeletons in an alleged mass grave in Inopacan, Leyte in 2006.”

The NDF-EV said the AFP wasted court time by relying on works of fiction rather than presenting credible forensic evidence from the few skeletal remains that were allegedly found. Never mind, too, that those accused were not present during the alleged crime, either because they were incarcerated for their political activism such as Satur Ocampo and Randall Echanis, or was still an elementary pupil like Teddy Casiño.

“The case is comical, and insulting to the intelligence of the people and the critical scrutiny of the judiciary to see through their fake evidence and false testimonies.”

Under the Duterte regime, this case was used to suppress leader activists and consultants of NDFP especially during the time when peace negotiations were ongoing. In Eastern Visayas, the AFP recycled this issue over and over again in order to pepper the headlines of local airwaves with blatant lies, disinformation, and intrigue. This was also used to arrest activists and farmers, threaten and intimidate the masses, and obstruct their militant struggles.

“This case forms part of the Duterte regime’s systematic fascist attacks and mass deception through the weaponization of the courts and media. Left and right, Duterte’s army manufactures trumped-up charges and plants evidence in order to scare, defame, suppress, and legitimize attacks against nationalists and progressives. They pronounce blatant lies, parade fake surrenderers, spread fake news, and all other forms of fakery and psywar attacks.”

The NDF-EV also hit Duterte’s security adviser Gen. Hermogenes Esperon who expressed frustration over the court ruling. “The Inopacan case, a handiwork of Esperon, is just one of the several made-up cases that were recently dismissed by courts all over the country. We are not surprised by Esperon’s frustration, who invested time and effort to weave one lie after another as he himself was a fake witness in this trumped-up case.

“Neither are we surprised by his threat to launch more legal attacks against the people. The military has already been red-tagging and wielding the Anti-Terror Law to file trumped-up charges in courts. Extrajudicial killings committed by death squads under the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police also continue unabated, with or without these court cases,” NDF-EV said.

In the face of all these, the NDF-EV called on the people to expose these trumped-up charges, lies, intimidation, and psychological attacks. “They must denounce massive disinformation and fascist deception and wage all forms of struggle to hold the Duterte regime and its army accountable over their numerous crimes against the people.

NDF-EV welcomes junking of Leyte ‘travelling bones’ case