The allegation of the Roselyn Pelle Command of the New People's Army Northern Negros Guerilla Front that those killed and injured in an encounter with the military recently in Brgy. Dian-ay, Escalante City, Negros Occidental, were not their members, is part of their alibi to cover up their blunder, Lt. Col. Rommel Cordova, 62 nd Infantry Battalion commander, yesterday said.
“They (NPA) are now suffering a major political setback because of what had happened,” Cordova said, in response to the statement of Cecil Estrella, spokesperson of the Roselyn Pelle Command had issued to the media.
While they exploited their supporters, the NPA did not even extend any form of help to them, Cordova said, adding that, “In fact, it was the Army who extended humanitarian assistance those they had exploited”.
Estrella had disputed in a statement they issued, military claims of an encounter between them and the 62IB, and said that Danilo Amar, Francisco Zamora and a certain Robles are not affiliated with their group, much more as their guides.
The rebel spokespersons claimed it could have been a mis-encounter between the RPA-ABB under the leadership of Ka Remar, who are operating in the area, and the 62IB. She further said that the NPA is not operating in the area, where the encounter had taken place.
Cordova said the NPA unarmed supporters are now complaining of being used, and of being put in harm's way.
Maj. Rey Tiongson, 3 rd Infantry Division spokesman, also dismissed the rebel claims as mere propaganda. “The CPP-NPA in northern Negros did not only disown their members, they did not even extend assistance to the slain and injured ones,” Tiongson said.
Col. Jon Aying, 303 rd Infantry Brigade commander, had said earlier that, based on their assessment, Amar was killed and Romly Palotes was injured when they were hit by bullets from their own comrades. The two were alleged members of the NPA Yunit Militia.
The encounter also caused injury to Espinosa, 27, commander of the 62 nd Infantry Battalion Bravo Company. He is now confined at the Dr. Pablo O. Torre Memorial Hospital in Bacolod City.
Estrella called on human rights advocates to conduct an impartial investigation of what she claims to be a “bogus encounter”. *GPB
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