Army rebuts rebels’ accusations


ROXAS City — The Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion rebutted the accusations of the New People’s Army (NPA) who attacked the resort of businessman Roberto “Nonong” Palomar on December 16.

In an e-mail, the Army said: “In response to Jury Guerrero's statement over the radio, here are the actual facts as opposed to his allegations:

“(1) They disarmed the security guards of the resort, not members of Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU).

“(2) They attacked the resort for the following reasons: To steal food in the form of canned goods; and to terrorize and intimidate the resort owner to give in to their extortion demands

“(3) Having successfully entered the resort without resistance emboldened them to take the firearms of the security and the policeman, who at that time was enjoying the facilities of the resort.

“(4) Trying to cover up a criminal act of extortion, trespassing and theft by creating unbelievable stories that is read through a prepared statement on radio is a very weak attempt at a cover up. They have to justify their actions because the public is convinced that they are no more than mere criminals/bandits.

“(5) The fact that they had to prepare a statement to be read a week after the incident is already highly suspicious. It seems that it took them a while to create the elaborate lie that they now try to pass off to justify their criminal acts.

“(6) The general public knows the character of the NPA in Panay as common criminals. And no amount of prepared statements and propaganda will be able to change that perception of them.

We give Jury Guerrero credit for trying; better luck next time.”

On Monday, the NPA admitted having attacked a mountain resort in Tapaz town and disarming the resort's security personnel and a policeman.

In a press statement read over the radio, the Jose Percival Estocado Jr. Central Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) admitted attacking the Marugo Mountain Resort and disarming members of CAFGU serving as security personnel on December 16 in Sitio Marugo, Brgy. San Antonio, Tapaz, Capiz.

Around 40 armed men and women NPA members attacked the resort, some 15 kilometers away from the town proper.

In a statement, rebel spokesperson Guerrero explained that the rebels attacked the resort due to alleged abuses by the armed men of businessman and resort owner Palomar against the local residents living near the resort.

The rebels named the disarmed CAFGU men as Dominido Gascon and Edgar Victoriano.

The NPA rebels took one .30-caliber M1 Garand rifle with 10 clips of live ammunition, an M-16 Armalite rifle with five long magazines and two short magazines with ammunition from Gascon and Victoriano.

They also took six handheld radios, two pairs of binoculars, a megaphone, a backpack with assorted fatigue uniforms and one magazine loaded with .45-caliber ammunition.

SPO3 Isidro Garbosa of the Tapaz police station, who was at the resort during the raid, said the rebels also took his service firearm, a .9mm-Barreta pistol and two magazines with live ammunition and a mobile phone./PN