FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City – The Philippine Army refutes allegations of civilian killings during an encounter in Brgy. Butanguiad, San Francisco, Quezon on April 12.
Major Harold Cabunoc, the Army Spokesperson, said that the three casualties were proven to be members of the NPA rebels based on the recovered weapons and subversive documents, identifying them as members of the bandit group.
The dead rebels were later identified by their relatives as Cesar Monterollo,44, Marcelino Mandado,18, and Diosdado Ebanez,21.
The troops from the 74th Infantry Battalion headed by Lt. Col. Dennis Perez recovered two M16 rifles, one 38-caliber revolver, one hand grenade, and one improvised bomb from the dead bandits. Likewise, six backpacks containing subversive documents were seized in the encounter site.
The cadavers of the dead rebels were properly turned over to their families to be given a decent burial.
“Soldiers are not happy that our fellowmen are hurt or killed in the clashes. Our main thrust is to convince them to lay down their arms and abandon their armed struggle, and take part in the implementation of the government’s peace and development programs that will address the various problems in our society,” said Cabunoc.
“While carrying out these non-combat activities like constructing roads and school buildings, we continue to perform our mandate of protecting our people against the NPA rebels who insist to use their arms to advance their own interests,” he added.
The clash happened a couple of weeks after the capture of three rebels including two minors in the same province in a brief encounter with the soldiers of the same Army battalion.
"Our soldiers are not after bodycounts as indicated by their action in the field during the capture of these NPA rebels. We will continue to conduct security operations in support to the local police in order to flush the armed extortionists and criminals who threaten the peace in far-flung communities," he added.