NPA justifies incident that angered Duterte
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The NorthCentral Mindanao Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) on Tuesday, February 7, said the death of 3 soldiers in Bukidnon was the result of a legitimate encounter.
The NCMR sought to justify the deaths of Corporal Pat O. Non, Corporal Nino Christopher Talabor and Sargeant Owen Yee of the 8th Infanty Batallion on February 1 in Barangay Kibalabag, Malaybalay Cty – one of the incidents that reportedly angered President Rodrigo Duterte, who terminated the government's ceasefire with the NPA on February 3.
Ka Allan Juanito, NCMR spokesperson, said the February 1 incident was an "encounter" and that the NPA was only forced to fire back after the soldiers tried to fire their sidearms at an NPA checkpoint.
The military had said that the soldiers were unarmed and wearing civilian clothes when they were “murdered.” Each soldier reportedly sustained 24 gunshot wounds, according to the official autopsy report.
Juanito denied reports that the NPA stole the soldiers' cash but admitted that the rebels took their weapons.
He also apologized to the families of the 3 soldiers: “We are saddened by the incident, this took place as the peace negotiation with the government of President Rodrigo Duterte was ongoing, but right at the start, the AFP-PNP-CAFGU has violated by entering areas under the revolutionary movement."
Army chides Jalandoni
The 4th Infantry Division chided Luis Jalandoni, National Democratic Front (NDF) senior adviser, for alleging in an interview with GMA News that the death of the 3 soldiers in Buknon might have been a rubout carried out by the military itself.
Captain Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the 4th ID, said that on the day the 3 soldiers were killed Juanito "called up the media and owned up to the said killing."
"Mr Jalandoni's accusations has added more injury to the pains and sufferings of the families and loved ones of our 3 soldiers. In an attempt to hide the barbarism of their armed wing and to deceive everyone about the incident, Jalandoni accused the AFP over killing our own troops," said 4ID commander Major General Benjamin Madrigal Jr.
On Tuesday, February 7, the Duterte government terminated the Joint Agreement on Immunity and Safety Guarantees (JASIG), paving the way for the arrest of NDF consultants who were temporarily released from government custody to participate in the peace negotiations. – Rappler.com