NPA apologizes for Negros ambush
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines - The New People’s Army (NPA) Leonardo Panaligan Command claimed responsibility for the recent ambush in La Castellana, Negros Occidental, which killed a cop and 8 civilians and wounded 12 others.
In a tape-recorded statement, the command's spokesperson Ka JB Regalado apologized for the deaths of the civilians. He admitted lapses committed by the guerrillas and said they are now being investigated.
Regalado said the rebels' original plan was to disarm the policemen and members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) who were travelling from a nearby village. He questioned though the use of a civilian vehicle by the police, saying the cops were attempting to use civilians as "human shield."
Regalado denied they shot the victims in the head, as claimed earlier by the police.
He said they also confiscated 7 firearms -- 2 M16 assault rifles, a sub machine gun, M2 carbine rifle, a shotgun, caliber .45 pistol, and 357 magnum revolver.
Police investigators said the victims, on board a Fuzo Canter vehicle, were on their way home after attending a fiesta when they were ambushed by about 20 armed rebels on January 27 in Barangay Puso, La Castellana.
Puso barangay chairman Florencio Nellis admitted he had sought help from the La Castellana police to secure the three-day barangay fiesta. Three policemen and BPAT members were dispatched to the place.
Responding to the rebel statement, Capt. Ryan Joseph Cayton, spokesman of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Divisio, said, “This is another diversionary tactic of the NPA to clean their name and escape guilt."
Cayton challenged the NPA to come out and answer for their crimes.
The families of the victims have appealed to President Benigno Aquino III to order government to fast-track the probe. - Rappler.com