Abat’s call for ‘military junta’ known in
internet March 29 as ‘Philippine Storm’
CHITO DELA TORRE
CATBALOGAN, Samar - True, the
plan calling for a change in government leadership via a military junta in
the post-Estrada years had long been known. In the internet, that is. (view article)
Perhaps not a million
Filipinos had not noticed that. E-mails on this subject matter kept
exchanging since February, 2004, particularly among Filipinos residing
abroad, shared with those who could access them in Philippine cyberspace.
Some sources at the AFP
and the Philippine National Police were allegedly discussing this plan as
early as February or March last year, and then again in October and
But perhaps the Arroyo
Administration, more particularly the Armed Forces of the Philippines, did
discover that, say, fourteen months ago, so that when this plan was publicly
declared hours before the commemoration of Labor Day, followed by a national
television broadcast on its announcement, the government had simply ignored
it. Not a thing about that declaration was even mentioned during an en banc
Cabinet meeting that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo called to take up
other national concerns of greater priorities.
Jose Jay” Galang Caedo
III, identified as president of the Filipino-American Democratic Empowerment
Council, described in his e-mail message on March 29, which came under the
item “The Coming Philippine Storm”, dated March 30, as “old news” the
“recent announced proposal” of former Defense Secretary Fortunato Abat (a
retired general in the AFP) “for an authoritarian revolutionary government
to take power in the Philippines”.
Caedo suspected that last
year’s reportages by the media in the Philippines and in the United States
were “part and parcel of this overall effort”. He also cited the claim of
the Communist Party of the Philippines/National Democratic Front/New
People’s Army that the various crises which this country has been facing
“are not fabricated, artificial, nor staged.”
socio-economic-political problems that need immediate redress, and for which
neither the Left nor the Right have the monopoly of ideas or solutions. The
country is constantly in deadlock in the Senate (and) Congress, and the CPP
and Muslim insurgents are stalling economic progress by stirring labor
unrest, and bleeding the national Treasury dry,” he observed.
He opined that the
conditions are “probably ripe for the final takeover of the government by
the military/PNP” could have been the reason why Abat spoke out.
The message sender,
however, urged Filipinos to pray and call upon the “present-day Philippine
military minds to be absolutely careful to learn the lessons of Marcos.
He said: “Abuse of power,
and greed will turn the people against you faster than a typhoon. Do what
you have to do, kill and imprison the criminals, clean up the government and
country, dismantle the hundreds of little private armies and political
fiefdoms. Wala na dapat na siga sa Pilipinas. But do not commit the abuses
and mistakes Marcos committed. Learn the lessons of history. If you are
gambling with the future of the nation, make sure you institute economic
reforms that will bring about austerity, progress and prosperity.”
Otherwise, he warned, the
“people will very soon turn against you”. He reminded the military officers
about the dictatorships of China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and others
in Asia, which “only succeeded because they brought back discipline and
progress.” He added that without prosperity and progress, “the people will
have fought bitterly against the dictatorships, and these would not have
lasted as long as they did.”
He hoped, however, that
the military leaders will see that “in their quest for power, they should
guard against self-corruption, and the corruption and abuse of power by
“If they do, as what
Fortunato Abat claims they will, then okay; but it is very difficult to
remain incorruptible when holding absolute power. And those who remain so
even in the face of such power truly deserve to be part of the Guardian
Class. The other danger I see is that the lower ranks will want to take
power for themselves, once they get a little taste of the power. Those who
wear the Suns will want to wear the Stars; or take the Stars away,” he
Another e-mail sender,
Addi Batica, who is believed to be a Basaynon (native of Basey, Samar where
he was known to some as an “activist” before the proclamation of martial law
on September 21, 1972), prefaced his message with a query: “Samarnons and
military takeover in Pinas, a bloodbath?” last April 1.
Batica shared his
thoughts on the alleged inevitability of the reported junta. After
suggesting a “formula”, that of following the “Guatemalan Model” of 1944, he
asked “who knows if, by some miracle - some elements within the military
establishment might find common cause with those who are simply sick and
tired of the way things are”?
Batica feared, though,
“that ours will just be a ‘blood-blood’ kind of affairs, dinuguan a la
carte.” He went on to say, “There’s a lot of built-up anger behind that
Filipino smile and though I hate to admit it, violence is as Filipino as
dinuguan. Our history is written in blood, but the sad part about it is - in
spite of the amount of blood shed so far, we have yet to see the shadow of
redemption lurking in some corner.”
He concluded his
“personal take” by saying that Filipinos are caught in the crossfire between
Right and Left, and that the only thing he is praying for is “a miracle”.
Another e-mail sender was
reported as commenting that those who want a military junta “will do it”,
especially if Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) will
support “a Praetorian takeover in the Philippines so that they can watch the
piracy in the Straits of Malacca, the discontent especially among the
fundamentalist Muslims such as Jemaah Islamiyah, and of course, the national
democratic struggle in the Philippines.
The sender, Cesar Torres,
said: “We can exchange tons of emails here and nothing can prevent this kind
of possibility. After all, power is the ultimate arbiter. As Trasymachus
says: ‘Might is right!’ Look around the world.”
He added, “the killing of
Marlene Garcia-Esperat is a dramatic example of the exercise of power.”
Who really killed Ka Digo?
By CHITO DELA
April 30, 2005
PARANAS, Samar -
Conching or Conchit does not believe the “kagiosan” snuffed the life
out of Ka Digo. Her husband’s killers did not act, behave and talk
like a “kasama”. For her, and many others, his dastardly killing was
not “sirot han rebolusyon” (punishment inflicted by the revolution).
Two sympathizers, unwilling
to be identified, made these comments a few days before the scheduled burial
of Rodrigo Norumor Sugalan, also known as Digo or Ka Digo, on
April 14 in Casandig II, Paranas, Samar - the forested village of birth of
his beloved who herself is believed to be familiar with how the New People’s
Army is said to dispense its own form of “justice”.
The sympathizers, giving
their insights to the media in two separate occasions, said they had heard
Concesa Sugalan express her own personal beliefs but she had not pinpointed
who could possibly be the killers of her husband who had been a highly
respected and recognized community leader with a good track record as an
agrarian reform beneficiary, but who had spent many years in the New
People’s Army after graduating high school in his hometown in Oras, Eastern
Ka Digo admitted in an
interview - more than one year before the different agricultural
cooperatives elected him last year as their sole representative and delegate
to the Samar Provincial Agrarian Reform Coordinating Committee (PARCCOM) -
that he had first sought the approval and blessing of his seniors and peers
in the “kagiosan” before leaving them in order to see for himself the
good things which the civilian government was said to be already extending
to the poor masses of Filipinos.
Conching had known that.
For the many years that she
had been living with Ka Digo and their children since his surrender during
the time President Fidel V. Ramos through the help of then governor of
Eastern Samar Lutgardo Barbo, she had not experienced herself and neither
her husband nor any of their children, being accosted, nor being molested,
not even warned or advised against, by any his former comrades-in-arms. In
all those years since 1992, they moved even more freely in the whole island
of Samar than they did years back.
Ka Digo and Conching were in
the next, more interior barangay of Tutubigan in Paranas, for the market day
(tabo) early morning of April 5. At a nearby store where he was warming up
his body with a cup of hot coffee at past six o’clock, three unidentified
men surrounded him. Without saying a word, one shot him. When the hitman’s
gun went on a stoppage for a second shot, his companion drew his own gun and
cracked shots, even if their victim was already felled on the ground. The
assailants left, but Conching, chasing, caught up with the last of the
casually fleeing man, held him by his arm and asked about her husband’s
“sala” that they killed him.
Told that Ka Digo was
“traydor ha kagiosan” (traitor to the movement), she pleaded he had
never been, and when the man dared her to a fight, she bravely replied,
“ano ko pakaato nga waray ko man armas?” (how could I fight when I don’t
have a weapon?)
Last February 1, he took his
oath of office before Department of Land Reform regional director Tiburcio
A. Morales Jr., in the presence of Samar provincial land reform officer
Marlu M. Merin and a host of other witnesses, as the province’s agricultural
cooperatives sector representative in the Samar Provincial Land Reform
Coordinating Committee. More than two hours after his oathtaking, he was
nominated to succeed as chairman of the Committee, but he declined, in favor
of the rising demands for his personal presence coming from numerous
cooperatives that have seen him as their hope, his unqualified devotion
having been demonstrated as the power-plus factor that kept engendering
success after success to his own cooperative - the Casandig Farmers
Multi-Purpose Cooperative - of which his vice-chairmanship remained
He had been a “veterinarian”
and a “farmers’ tutor”, and an avid farmer-entrepreneur in his remote
village and nearby barrios whose small farmer-producers have grown to
succeed with him while learning under his tutelage. He was known to such
highly reliable and successful non-government organizations as the VICTO and
the PBSP. He was so valuable, greatly to the poor farmers of Samar.
Certainly, his death spells a big loss to them, mostly the poor masses, that
his sympathizers believed his erstwhile “kasama” (comrades) would not want
him die young. He was 48.
PLRO Merin, with his staff
and personnel, paid last respects on him twice, the last on April 11,
already with a wreath that expresses likewise the grief and commiseration of
the entire DLR-Samar organization and the Samar PLRCCOM.
Would the mastermind of Ka
Digo’s killing have the heart and courage to come out to admit the craven
coward’s dastardly and heinous act? Many ask.
postscript: Accompanying this article is an earlier piece written by
him and published widely early in year 2004.)
Meet an ex-rebel commander
following article under the same title, lifted from a 2004 file kept by the
author, is reprinted here to help readers of Samar News.com know more the
subject during his lifetime, and in honor of Ka Digo.)
KA DIGO in his high variety
"Rodrigo Sugalan could make for a valuable movie".
Teresa De Asis was so
emphatic when she made this remark right in front of Digo, a humble farmer
in the interior barrio of Casandig II which nestles somewhere in a forested
section of the town of Paranas in Samar, where tourists can find a beautiful
waterfalls and a spring zone more bewitching than others that they have
On top of her soulful
impressions is her having discovered Digo not simply as an ideal personality
for her planned feature story and a photo exhibit for next month when the
whole Filipino nation observes the 16th year of the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Program. “The nation ought to know his story.”
Rodrigo Norumor Sugalan is a
respected name in Casandig, a new home unlike his own in Oras, Eastern Samar.
There he tills two small-sized farms whose aggregate area is even less than
the ideal maximum of 3 hectares for each agrarian reform beneficiary. One of
these is devoted to off-season vegetable farming which produced an
appreciable quantity of sweet pakwan last year, to the delight of Department
of Agrarian Reform personnel – among them, Teresa, who is now DAR’s
provincial information officer - in Catbalogan when he brought his harvest
for the agri-trade center there.
When visited lately by
Teresa, Digo was attending to the store owned by the Casandig Farmers
Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CAFAMPCO) of which he is board director. He
obliged to an interview which led Teresa to his two other projects – SASSO
poultry and swine raising with a bio-digester tank in the making.
Digo joined the New People’s
Army after graduating from high school in Oras. His having been a battalion
commander in the citizen army training in school gave him an edge over his
peers in the rebel movement. His skills catapulted him to the post of
regional commander in Eastern Visayas, and then in Western Visayas. Through
the years, he observed that there are other ways by which reforms could be
instituted in government and in society. In 1992, through then Eastern Samar
Governor Lutgardo Barbo, he surrendered to President Fidel V. Ramos. For
months later, Digo was a regular voice in two radio stations in Borongan,
and then, over DYVL in
in a program that crusaded for the return of his former brothers in the
rebel movement to the fold of law.
When he became one of the
“15-30” Capitol employees in Borongan, he saw this as an opportunity to go
through college. With Gov. Barbo’s consent, he enrolled in an agricultural
course at the University of
and did graduate in due time. Upon graduation, he decided to start out a
farm. After weighing several options, he left Eastern Samar and found
Casandig as his launching pad, and home. There he also became receptive of
the CARP and the packages of technology brought in with the program.
A fast-learner, he rose to
become a trainor and a “teacher” to his fellow poor farmers. While applying
his new learning, Digo would introduce his experience with the farmers in
Western Visayas where he and his comrades farmed in order to survive. Some
farming practices and techniques there, he found out, could be adopted in
As a new face in Casandig,
he recalled, the villagers used to laugh at his farming ways. That had
changed soon after the ways that they had been laughing at demonstrated
something better. Since then, he had become one of the local farmers’
trusted leaders. Farmers coming from neighboring barrios have now been
frequenting their visits to him, not only to see his farms, but also to
engage him for his “veterinary” service.
Now, many in Casandig II,
and in Paranas municipality, know his past. They call him “Ka Digo”. A
twist in luck occurred to him. While still a rebel commander, he almost had
a bloody confrontation with a military commander in
That commander became his “senior” in the cooperative at Casandig II,
because the latter is the CAFAMPCO chairman.
He loves to work with the
more than 100 members of the cooperative and helps his chairman in
campaigning for more farmers, and others, professionals and employees, to
join as members.
Well, the cooperative is a
millionaire in assets. It has a million-peso tractor that helps add more
yields to the farms in the village which is predominantly planted to corn.
Its store sells a variety of commodities, including gasoline, soft drinks,
beer and others. Its officers and committees follow highly recommended
systems that are necessary to keep up the cooperative’s success. This is
perhaps the only cooperative in Region VIII that has the most number of
government agencies and non-government organizations extending appropriate
attention on a monthly basis.
Teresa mused once: Could
Digo’s presence be a reason for this dynamism? What more could unfold in
this faraway barangay with him around?
Soldiery is my role, War
is my game
Cpt. CROMWELL I. DANGANAN,
CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar - In the wake of February 1974 burning
of Jolo, Sulu, newly designated 8ID Commander, Maj. Gen, Jovito S. Palparan Jr, then a Second Lieutenant and barely four months in the military service,
led a reinforcement team that repelled the Moro National Liberation Front’s
(MILF) attack of the Army’s 24th Infantry Battalion headquarters
at Barangay Tagbak, Indanan, Sulu which earned him his first military award,
a Military Merit Medal with Bronze Spearhead Device.
Maj. Gen. JOVITO S. PALPARAN, JR.
8ID Commanding General
As a Company Commander of the 24IB Delta
Company, he led the assault of the insurgents’ stronghold at
Patikul, Sulu on January 21, 1978. This exemplary show of courage by the
young officer and his men resulted in the dislodge of the insurgents
fortified place in the said barangay. His intrepid achievement in crushing
the insurgents’ position in 1978 earned him the respect of his men and his
superiors and he was awarded the Gold Cross Medal and was promoted to the
rank of Captain.
As a young captain of the Army, he was
designated operations and intelligence officer of Task Force Musang of the
24IB. He held the torch for the soldiers by planning, executing and leading
the numerous operations against the Bangsa Moro Army (BMA) of the MNLF in
the town of Patikul
and other parts of Sulu province. The concerted efforts of the operating
troops eventually led to the surrender of top BMA commander, Hakim Sali
alias “Snake”, nephew of Usman Sali and the one responsible in the massacre
of Brig. Gen. Teodolfo Bautista and 33 others on October 10, 1977 in Patikul,
Sulu, and hundreds of other insurgents with firearms. That was another
mission accomplished for Maj. Gen. Palparan during his junior year in the
From combat zone to garrison duties, Maj.
Gen. Palparan intelligently conceptualized suitable actions to defeat the
enemy of the state. Thus as assistant chief of Operations Branch, OG3, Phil
Army, he endorsed the Special Operations Team (SOT) concept of
counter-insurgency as an effective weapon or tool to neutralize the
insurgency problem in the remote villages throughout the country.
As one of the military officers who believed
in the dictum, “Good prevails over evil”, he said that “we have to
relate the message to the rebels (referring to all enemies of the State)
that they could not overcome us no matter how hard they try”.
His unquestionable courage in combat promoted him to command
the Army’s 24th Infantry Battalion twice, first
during the height of NPA’s terrorism and liquidation activities in the
National Capital Region (NCR) in 1987, and second in 1990 to 1993 where he
led the clearing operations in Central and
Northern Luzon provinces
from the influence of communist terrorists.
Apart from being a gallant man who vigorously
pursued the SOT and intensified combat operations in the entire
Central Luzon area, Maj. Gen. Palparan authored the Philippine Army
Doctrine Development Manual (PAM-8-01). This is a training manual that
provided a system for the development of doctrine in the PA and provides
detailed guidance of doctrine research, writing and test and evaluation. He
also contributed in the formulation of policies for the AFP participation in
the security and rehabilitation of
East Timor. From theory to reality, Maj. Gen. Palparan was designated
to lead the 51 members of the Philippine Humanitarian Contingent deployed in
Iraq during the later
part of 2003. Though his stint in Iraq was cut short, his accomplishments
were highly commendable.
As a well-rounded officer in the military who
is willing and ready to sacrifice and give total commitment to the service,
he commanded Task Force Banahaw in the CALABARZON. He launched Campaign Plan
“Halina” in the
Southern Luzon provinces, a noted lair of the CPP/NDF/NPA communist
terrorists. In seven months, General Palparan steered the Task Force into an
achievement that surpassed the performance of the three brigades who are
assigned to Southern Luzon Command, thus, his unit was adjudged the “Best
Maneuver Unit” during Calendar Year 2000 in the area.
Getting the job done with flying colors, Maj.
Gen. Palparan was tasked to head the Army Brigade in Oriental Mindoro. For
one year and five months, he was able to reverse the situation in the island
where the CPP/NDF/NPA practically dominated the political and social lives
of the people through fear and false promises that even the local government
officials later obeyed acting on terrorists’ orders.
Knowing very well the prevailing situation in
the area specifically the setback undergone by the rebels in the province
due to massive operations and tactical maneuvers of his men, the different CPP/NDF/NPA front organizations created scenarios to discredit the presence
of the Army personnel in the area. This counter action and propaganda from
the suffering communist terrorist did not spare task force commander Maj.
Gen. Palparan. He was pinpointed by the rebels to be the mastermind in the
series of killing among members of their rank even without evidence. The
general being a firm believer of this famous line from the Holy Bible
“Truth shall set us free” was unfazed in his military career and was not
affected by false accusations from the various front organizations of the
Instead he continuously exerted his effort to
perform his sworn duty to his country and his people as an officer and a
gentleman. He strongly adheres to the provisions of the national fundamental
law of the land. He proudly said that “Soldiery is my role and war is my
game” as he pursues his arm profession. He earned his first star rank on 01 January 2003
pursuant to Paragraph 3, General Orders 86 GHQ AFP dated 22 January 2003 and
was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments on 12 May 2004.
years of successful stint in the AFP, Maj. Gen. Palparan got his second star
rank on 20 October 2004 pursuant to Paragraph 2, General Orders Number 1236
GHQ AFP dated 18 October 2004. His latest promotion is a welcome development
after he was assigned as Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army, a position
for a two-star general. An outstanding and dedicated officer who believes
that lasting peace is the key to economic development, Maj. Gen Palparan is
now assigned to lead the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army
based in Eastern Visayas and
Santillan to GMA TV-7 crew: ‘Sorry gid sa inyo’
Newly crowned OPBF welterweight champion Kazuhiko Hidaka and Filipino
boxing judge Alex Vidal in the dressing room.
By ALEX P. VIDAL/ PNS
March 30, 2005
Unlike Manny “The Pac Man” Pacquiao who made a lot of excuses after he was
convincingly shell-shocked by Erik “El Terrible” Morales in a 12-round
non-title fight in Las Vegas last March 19, Rev “Gentle Giant” Santillan
offered no alibi after relinquishing his Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation
(OPBF) welterweight title on a shock 4th round technical knockout (TKO)
upset loss to Japanese challenger Kazuhiku Hidaka in Tokyo, Japan also last
“Sorry gid sa inyo lahat,” (I apologize to all of you) Santillan, 27, told
the GMA TV-7 team led by “Unang Hirit” anchor Rhea Santos while leaving the
ring at the Korakuen Hall, Asia’s mecca of boxing.
“Okay lang Rev, huwag kang mag sorry talagang ipinakita mo na magaling ang
‘Pinoy; naglaban ka hanggang sa katapusan ( It is OK Rev, don't apologize,
you gave your best and you showed that a Filipino is good and that you gave
your best. We are proud of you,” Santos, 25, answered the crestfallen boxer
from Brgy. Tacas, Jaro, Iloilo City who impaired to 21 wins (15 KOs), 2
losses and one draw.
The television network had come to cover Santillan’s second defense of the
crown he wrested from Hiroshi Watanabe in Nagoya in April 2004.
GMA TV-7 made a special report on Santillan. It had earlier taken several
footages of his training in Cebu before the Tokyo disaster.
Director Melo Esguerra said they would proceed with the special report to be
shown in one of their night public affairs programs after the Holy Week
despite the debacle.
“At least lumaban s’ya ng husto at hindi sia nag surrender,” said Esguerra
who praised Santillan’s “fighting spirit” despite being blasted to the
canvas two times before the fight was finally halted at 2:41 in the fourth
The TV crew followed Santillan in his dressing room where the deposed
champion dished out another apology in a soft voice: “Sorry talaga. I’m so
Santillan had defended the title by unanimous decision over Taisei Marumoto
in Osaka last August 7, 2004. Against the US-trained Hidaka (21-4, 15 KOs),
the 5 feet and 11 inches Ilonggo lefty was overpowered from the opening bell
en route to suffering his first knockout defeat both as an amateur and
Santillan was heavily favored to upend the ambitious Hidaka, who had lost on
points to Marumoto, Santillan’s victim.
“For the first time, nabatyagan ko gid nga napierde ‘ko. Medyo masakit pero
gina nabaton ko na,” sobbed Santillan who suffered a nasty cut over the
right eyebrow inflicted by an accidental head butt in the second round.
Like in the Pacquiao-Morales setto, Korean referee Wansoo Yuh did not see
the clash of heads and ruled the wound, which needed eight stitches, as
caused by a legitimate punch.
The head butt occurred when Santillan rushed to follow up a left with a
right uppercut in the dying seconds of the second round.
In the Pacquiao-Morales duel, Filipino fans made a mountain out of molehills
of referee Joe Cortez’s similar error while Santillan did not protest Yuh’s
infraction and gamely admitted he lost to the much prepared Hidaka, 26.
The TKO defeat was so devastating Santillan could not remember how he lost
his belt. “Na knockout ‘ko? Tapos na ang boksing? Pila ka round?” he quipped
minutes after the stoppage.
Santillan first kissed the floor in the third round when Hidaka, Santillan’s
first ever southpaw opponent, ripped him in the chin with a thunderous left
and right combination. He beat Yuh’s mandatory count and survived to live
In the fourth stanza, the brave Ilonggo champion, embarrassed and hurt,
committed a big mistake when he engaged the muscular Hidaka in a phone-booth
brawl and lowered his defense. Sensing a kill, Hidaka refused to be
intimidated and peppered Santillan with a flurry of solid jabs and straights
as he landed the more telling blows in the fiery exchange that had the
partisan fans on the edge of their seats.
A barrage of over right and left blows sent Santillan to Hidaka’s corner
where he capitulated under the avalanche of punches that came like a
tornado. He nearly fell out the ring but managed to beat the second count.
A few seconds later, Yuh, sensing the fight no longer was sport, called it a
night as Hidaka pounded the bloodied champion with more unanswered blows to
The previously indestructible Santillan was a picture of bloody mess, his
face a crimson of blood. His trainer Brix Flores rushed inside the ring and
embraced him, reminiscence when Marco Antonio Barrera was embraced by his
teary-eyed trainer-brother to save the Mexican dynamo from Pacquiao’s wrath
in the 11th round in their mega fight three years ago.
Hidaka, handled by the famed trainer Miyagi “Master” Kurihara of Huntington
Beach, California, screamed and cried as the referee declared him the winner
Scoring referee Yuh (Korea), judges Alex Vidal (Philippines) and Masakazu
Uchida (Japan) registered an identical, 30-26, for Hidaka after the third.