BAGUIO CITY (Mar. 16) – A New People’s Army (NPA) leader dismissed as pure lies the claim of the Civil Relations Services (CRS) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that unarmed villagers of Boliney, Abra acted as human shields to prevent communist guerrillas from attacking the outnumbered AFP troops.
Diego Wadagan, spokesperson of the NPA’s Agustin Begnalen Command operating in Abra, called Lt. Jose Ilarde, CRS acting commander “a liar”. He added that it is AFP’s propaganda policy to “twist” and “evade the truth”.
He explained that paranoia caught up the troops of the Charlie company of the 77th Infantry Brigade who are acting as leaders of the detachment based in Poblacion, Boliney.
He alleged that these AFP troops are “isolated from the people” due to human rights violations they committed, which included the 2006 killing of John Maximo in Baoyan, Boliney. Maximo, who hails from Tubo, Abra was married to a Baoyan lady.
Wadagan claims that an NPA unit was in the area to conduct organizing work.
In a Philippine Daily Inquirer report, Hiley Timmangen, a resident of Danac East dismissed as false the AFP reports. “It did not happen. Nothing like that happened. I do not know where that kind of report came from,” Timmangen said.
Timmangen’srelatives in the said area confirmed his allegations.
Meanwhile, Simon “Ka Filiw” Naogsan, spokesperson of the underground revolutionary organization Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front (CPDF), claimed that the AFP has been waging a demolition campaign in a “vain effort to demonize me and the NPA.”
Naogsan cited the earlier Ilarde report linking him to the burning of three school buildings in Tonglayan, Natonin, Mountain Province and extortion of P300,000 from the Tonglayan school principal.
Tonglayan residents in a resolution claimed that Naogsan and NPA guerrillas did not burn the school buildings or extort money from anybody.
“Without a shred of evidence, he (Ilarde) went so far to claim that the residents and school authorities condemned me for the incident,” added Naogsan.
The burning of the school buildings is still being investigated according to the Natonin police. # Via NORDIS