AFP, PNP vows justice for Rebelyn Pitao

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police yesterday jointly expressed their commitment to bring justice to Rebelyn Pitao, the daughter of New People’s Army commander Leoncio Pitao alias Commander Parago, who was abducted and believed tortured to death by her captors in Davao City.

In a joint press statement, PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Nicanor A. Bartolome and AFP public information officer Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto C. Torres Jr. said the “Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police join the family and friends of Rebelyn Pitao in their grief over her grotesque murder. Rebelyn was an elementary school teacher — a noble profession just like your soldiers and policemen, and in their sworn vocation they dedicate their lives to the service of this nation and our countrymen.

It is just unfortunate that the blame on Rebelyn’s death was automatically imputed on security personnel by some sectors. If only to stress, we have been staunch defenders of human rights, not only that of Rebelyn’s,’ the two said.

Both urged concerned individuals and groups to extend their full cooperation to the ongoing investigation of the Pitao case.

“Rebelyn deserves justice and we will accord it to her. The AFP and the PNP will pursue their mandate to shed light and solve Rebelyn’s murder. Likewise, we vow to cooperate with the inquiries carried out by other constitutional bodies and non-partisan organizations,” their statement said.

Both Bartolome and Torres vowed to make available to any investigation and due process of the law any security personnel who will be implicated in the case.

“Proper legal assistance will be provided to them by the AFP and the PNP. Just as how we vow to bring justice to Rebelyn’s death, we will also ensure that the rights of all suspects will be respected and protected,” the two officials said.

Torres also maintained that the military has nothing to do with the alleged threats being made on the lives of Mario Solis and Davao broadcaster Elgin Damasco, the reporter who linked the military to the Pitao abduction and slay.

“In view of the threats allegedly being received by Solis and Damasco from the military, we maintain that we don’t have any involvement on it. Nonetheless, we are communicating directly with the said mediamen so that proper investigation may be conduted on those threats and that appropriate security may be provided to them as necessary,” Torres said.

“Freedom of expression is enshrined in our Constitution and we respect the exercise of this right. We will be more than willing to provide security to any person just to ensure that this right is exercised. We further believe that through the help of the community and the media, we will be able to give justice to Rebelyn soon. To achieve this, it is necessary that we coordinate all our efforts,” he added.