DAVAO CITY– A poll watcher, two soldiers and two members of paramilitary groups were killed in a May 11 ambush by members of New People’s Army in Maragusan town, the 10th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.
Captain Emmanuel Garcia, spokesperson of the 10th ID-AFP, said an undetermined number of rebels attacked soldiers of the 66th Infantry Battalion escorting a group of Board of Election Inspectors (BEI’s) for the canvassing of votes at the municipal hall of Maragusan. Rebels, made the attack at 8:30 am a day after election day in Sitio Mangga, Mahayahay village, Maragusan, Compostela Valley.
Garcia said five were killed including a poll watcher, two soldiers and two members of Civilian Auxiliary Forces Geographical Units. The dead civilian was identified as Mercedita Negro, a poll watcher of Mayor Cesar Colina of Maragusan who is seeking re-election. The four government troops killed were Sgt. Jose Osman, Pfc. Macrell Bakil, Cafgu Leonelo Maglangit and Cafgu Teodoro Camingawan.
Wounded were three poll watchers and nine soldiers; namely: Darwin Obello, a poll watcher of mayoralty candidate Arsenio Yanong; Milagros Restauro and Lita Tablingun, pollwatchers of Mayor Colina; Staff Sgt. Remy Inoslay, Sgt. William Erot, Pfc. Nasser Ukoman, Pfc. Romeo Felix, Pfc. Jhonrie Toytoy, Pfc. John de Vera, Pfc. Rey Toledo, Pfc. Barahama Maadil and Pvt. Datu Ali Akmad.
The military blamed the NPA’s Front 27 for the attack and condemn the incident.
But a statement from Simon Santiago, spokesperson of the NPA’s regional political department, said the NPA still has to investigate the incident. Santiago said the NDFP-Mindanao and the Merardo Arce Command of the NPA earlier promised there would be no NPA attack against soldiers escorting BEIs with the PCOS machines during election day except in cases when soldiers launch an operation against the NPA. In such cases, Santiago said, the NPAs will have to defend themselves. Santiago cautioned the military against making up stories against the NPA. He was referring to reports that NPAs attacked and allegedly snatched the PCOS machines in Taguibo village in Davao Oriental on May 11.
“It is very important to investigate the incident especially as there are other private armed groups in the area such as the Nawnaw group, the armed goons of the multinational firm Stanfilco and some armed miners in Maragusan,” Santiago said.
He said the NPA will take responsibility if the group had any hand on the incident. (Grace S. Uddin/davaotoday.com)