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Young NUPL lawyer killed in Bohol clash

Don’t distort the truth, NTF-ELCAC tells NUPL

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A YOUNG lady lawyer who just passed the bar last year and recruited into the ranks of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) was among the fatalities during an armed encounter between government forces and remnants of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in Bohol province last February 23, 2024. The clash also resulted to the death of a policeman and the wounding of another.

According to official reports, joint elements from the Bohol Provincial Police Office and the 47th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, acting on intelligence information, went to Purok Matin-ao 2, Barangay Campagao, Bilar, Bohol, to serve an arrest warrant against Domingo Jaspe Compoc, aka, ‘Silong,’ squad leader of the remnants of the Bohol Party Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Compoc, who has a bounty of P2.6 million, is wanted for a string of criminal cases that include rebellion, homicide, multiple murder, and robbery.

Apparently aware of the government troops’ arrival, the group of Compoc engaged them in a firefight that lasted for nearly 3 hours before the smoke of battle ended and the bodies of the fatalities discovered.

From lawyer to law breaker. The body of Atty. Hannah Jay Cesista, dressed as an NPA fighter when it was discovered after the clash in Bohol province, February 23, 2024 (photo: NTF-ELCAC).

Aside from Compoc, also killed were his assistant squad leader, Parlito ‘Ka Aldrin’ Segovia, Hannah Joy ‘Ka Maya/Lean’ Cesista, Marlon ‘Ka Darwin’ Omosura, and a certain ‘Juaning,’ whose real identity is not yet known as of posting time.

Cesista just turned lawyer, after passing the bar in 2023 and her presence during the clash as an armed NPA combatant surprised the government.

Her profile later revealed that she was also an active member of the NUPL, which has earned the notorious reputation of being the “law firm” of the CPP and its front organizations.

Before this, Cesista was recruited into the ranks of the Anakbayan during her student days.

Killed on the government side is PCpl. Gilbert Amper while Patrolman Gerard Rollon, was wounded and is now recovering at a hospital in Tagbilaran City.

Operating troops also recovered 3 M16 assault rifles and 3 .45 caliber pistols from the encounter site.

‘Don’t distort the truth’– Torres

Undersecretary Ernesto ‘Jun’ Torres, executive director of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), for his part, called on the NUPL “not to distort the facts” of the encounter and should instead explain why one of its lawyers ended up in the ranks of the CPP-NPA, a designated terrorist organization here and abroad.

This, after the NUPL peddled the claim that the slain terrorists were “tortured and summarily executed” by the government troops in a bid to distance itself from explaining the presence of Cesista.

“NUPL’s unfounded accusation is not only preposterous but also a deliberate attempt to cover up one of its members as an armed NPA combatant” Torres said.

“Such disinformation being peddled by the group to the media and therefore the public not only violates the lawyer’s code of ethics and professional responsibility but also a deliberate travesty of justice,” he added.

Torres reminded the NUPL of “possible legal implications” for spreading disinformation.

“We challenge NUPL to explain to the legal community, in particular, and to the Filipino people, in general, why one of its members was a communist terrorist.

“The burden of proof rests on them. There is no amount of disinformation and deception to obfuscate the evidence that one NUPL member died during a legitimate encounter between government troops and the NPA,” Torres said.

‘May our daughter be the last victim’

‘Sana ang anak ko na ang huli, huling biktima,’ this, on the other hand, was the plea to the NUPL of Cesista’s father, Eutropio, during the wake of his daughter when interviewed by the media.

He also aired his grudge against the NUPL for recruiting his daughter despite his own apprehension.

“Ang medyo may hinanakit lang ako kaunti lang doon sa sinalihan niya na pinipigilan ko pero pumilit siya, ‘yung NUPL.

“Pumayag ako na sumali siya dahil ang explain sa akin na lawyer daw ‘yung mga kasamahan niya kaya pumayag ako tapos sabi ko mag-ingat ka” he said.

Eutropio Cesista, father of Atty. Hannah Jay Cesista, calmly tries to answer the media despite the tragic fate of their daughter after being recruited by the NUPL and Anakbayan (photo: NTF-ELCAC).

The elder Cesista admitted that Hannah ending up joining the NPA stunned their family.

“Napakasakit, walang kasing sakit ang nadarama ng tulad ng nadarama namin,” he continued.

Obviously deep in anguish, Cesista said her daughter’s achievement as a bar passer was everyone’s dream for their entire family.

“Parang nasa tuktok na, biglang bumagsak,” he said.

Not able to look after their children

It was not only the Cesista family who is in anguish in the aftermath of the clash.

Aside from the family of PCpl. Amper, also having a tragic get together is the family of Compoc, whose daughter, Jerylou Niña, 24, is now a cadette of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

She is presently completing her training in Bataan but was allowed on furlough to see her father for the last time.

Compoc’s wife, Hermosilla, aka, ‘Ka Aya,’ is also a former member of the CPP-NPA in Bohol but who opted to return to the fold of the law in 2016 with the hope that her husband would also rejoin the mainstream so they can be one whole family again.

The Compocs have three children and never had a chance to care for them.

Hermosilla said they left their eldest, Rolly, now 32, when he was just 6 months old to the care of their neighbor while they left behind Jerylou to the care of her grandmother when she was just 3 months old.

She also bemoaned that their second son, Jingler, decided to join his father and become an NPA. His present status is not yet clear.

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