MANILA, Philippines - The family of a police officer slain by the Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) is opposing a P500-million government aid to members of the former communist death squad.
Manuel Zarcal, a son of late police Chief Inspector Timoteo Zarcal, said they are also waiting for justice as the case involving the murder of his father has yet to be resolved after 17 years.
The older Zarcal fell to ABB assassin's bullets on May 8, 1994.
"My brother who witnessed it personally, ganoon iyung style. Sumigaw, 'ABB kami!' then tumakas na sila," his son said.
The ABB rose to notoriety in the 1980s and early 1990s for killing police officers and soldiers in cities, particularly in Metro Manila.
The younger Zarcal said the government must first help the ABB's victims before giving aid to the rebel group.
"We cannot have peace without justice. Paano naman papatawarin natin, walang justice na nakuha yung victims?" he said. "Mas maganda pa yata yung mga families ng mga victims, mas maganda siguro mabigyan ng pondo yung mga dependents mabigyan ng scholarship."
Based on the terms of the peace deal between the government and the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawang Pilipino - Revolutionary Proletarian Army - Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPMP-RPA-ABB), half a billion pesos will be spent on projects that will benefit the breakaway communist group's members and their families.
Another P10 million has been earmarked for a reintegration fund for surrendering members.
The RPMP-RPA-ABB peace panel said more than half of the funds have already been released by government.
"Almost P300 million na-release base sa assessment in 2007. Main bulk sa administrasyong Arroyo," said RPMP-RPA-ABB chairperson Veronica Tabara.
The money was used for livelihood projects, farm-to-market roads, school buildings, and water systems.
The peace agreement was signed by the Estrada administration on December 6, 2000.
Estrada said his administration only implemented the release of political prisoners, and it's up to the Aquino administration if it will adhere to the provisions of the agreement.
Teresita Quintos Deles, presidential adviser on the peace process, is supporting the agreement.
"Itutuloy natin pero sabi natin, may closure. Kailangan early in the [Aquino] administration matapos na, dahil kung hindi, nandiyan na naman iyan sa susunod," she said.
The RPMP-RPA-ABB is confident that the current administration will not renege on the deal.
"Nasa kamay na ng gobyerno ang kahihinatnan at pagpapatupad," said the rebel group's commanding officer, Carapali Lualhati.
The Aquino administration is also determined to finalize peace agreements with 4 other rebel groups -- the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Cordillera People's Liberation Army (CPLA), and the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
The CPLA, another breakaway group of the CPP-NPA-NDF, is also set to get P35 million in financial assistance and livelihood projects. - reports from Lynda Jumilla and Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News; ANC