DAVAO CITY – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he is backing government soldiers in their pursuit against the Communist New People’s Army (NPA) after the killing of the Davao businessman Vicente Solis Ferrazini a week ago.

This developed as the NPA owned up to the killing, saying that Ferrazini was an enemy supplying funds, logistics and intelligence to the military.

In a command conference on Wednesday, Duterte said that Ferrazini did not incur a blood debt and did not deserve to be killed. He also said that Ferrazini was unarmed.

But Rigoberto F. Sanchez, NPA spokesperson, said in an emailed statement that the Davao businessman ignored warnings from the NPA to stop his counter-revolutionary activities.

Sanchez said Ferrazini only became the target of the Ka Paking Guimbaolibot Red Partisan Brigade after he was proven guilty of giving logistical, financial and intelligence support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the hinterland of Toril.

Ferrazini, 44, was shot near A. Pichon Street (formerly Magallanes Street) on Saturday, February 2. He suffered from four gunshot wounds, died at about half past twelve midnight of February 4, and was cremated at the Davao Memorial Park Crematorium the following day.

His family owned the Merco food chain and ice cream stores, considered the oldest in the city.

“He aggressively supported both in open and covert means the military operations conducted by the 73rd IB-AFP and Task Force Davao,” Sanchez said. “Just this January, he went a notch further by facilitating the basing of one company of the 66th IB-AFP led by one Lt. Fernandez right inside their family-owned 96-hectare farm despite strong opposition from residents.”

Sanchez said the NPA warned the businessman to stop his counter-revolutionary activities but Ferrazini did not listen.

Their political officers are very active in that barangay, Duterte said, They roam around in shorts to mingle with the people during the day but at night, they carry firearms.

Earlier, in his weekly television program Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa, Duterte had expressed his desire to talk with the NPA.

The mayor said he deplores violence perpetrated against unarmed civilians and that what was done to Ferrazini was an unnecessary violence. Duterte said that Ferrazini could have been innocent and that he was only a collateral damage.

But Sanchez said Ferrazini was not a “collateral damage” but a target by the NPA. The Communist rebel group regards as their enemy those who are giving funds, logistics and intelligence support to the AFP.

Collateral damage is never (and will never be) a policy of the NPA, Sanchez said.

“While unintended damage to civilians was incurred during clashes with armed units of the AFP/PNP in the past, these were promptly acknowledged, with the sincerest apologies and given indemnification consistent with international humanitarian law,” Sanchez said. “Measures were also taken to avoid such things.” (Marilou M. Aguirre/davaotoday.com with reports from Germelina Lacorte)

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