Barefaced lies fail to erase the legitimacy of NPA tactical offensive

Jul. 01, 2008

(A statement on the death of four Philippine army soldiers)

The 10th infantry division-eastern Mindanao command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has again concocted a barefaced lie and presented it as a very untenable excuse for the death of four 73rd infantry battalion (IB) soldiers in Sitio Lower Bintuin, Brgy. Fatima, Paquibato, Davao City on June 14, 2008. But for its clear dubiousness, nobody is biting.

The narrative about their 4 casualties being “unarmed” and doing “community service” when ambushed by a unit of the 1st pulang bagani company (PBC) of the New People’s Army is a fabricated story that only shows the AFP’s deceit. Many, including people from the mass media, are quick in questioning how in the world the AFP – in the thick of massive and sustained ground and aerial combat operations to defeat the revolutionary forces by 2010, and in an area which they very well know was inside a guerrilla zone – suddenly become unarmed?

Since when has 73rd IB-AFP combat and intelligence operations – with the 73rd IB-AFP’ long leading the charge against Ka Parago, the 1st PBC and the guerrilla front 52 – been considered as “community service”? And last time we checked, the Geneva Convention and its Protocols that set the Rules of War still provided that combat units of warring parties, except for their medical personnel and chaplains and those who are considered hor’s de combat, are legitimate military targets. Again, their patent ignorance of International Humanitarian Law is revealed. They are so quick in fabricating lies when their troops are hit by NPA tactical offensives but celebrate in silence when they are able to kill unarmed civilians and non-combatants, as in the case of Danilo Pitao, Ka Parago’s brother.

The following are the basic facts denied and hidden by the 10th Infantry Division-AFP:

1. The four 73rd IB-AFP men were armed. Two of them who were wounded, able to run but died later. The other two who died on the spot were armed with short firearms (one .45 caliber handgun and one 9mm pistol) and an apple-type hand grenade which were seized after the ambush.

2. The 73rd IB-AFP is conducting Oplan Bantay Laya II military offensive operations against the NPA in its area of responsibility.

Having a cheek for lies and deception is trademark of the AFP. But no matter how hell-bent they are in twisting the truth, two obvious facts stand out: First, that they are disgraced and publicly embarrassed by this successful tactical offensive in the outskirts of Davao City by an NPA unit which they claim to be supposedly “weakened and on the run”; and second, that the US-directed Oplan Bantay Laya II counter-revolutionary campaign of Gloria Arroyo is one big frustration for the AFP.

(Sgd) Rigoberto F. Sanchez


Merardo Arce Command

Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command

New People’s Army

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