Left with no choice, Ballasta and his men returned fire as they gradually approached the enemy positions.
Real warriors also cry
Among the dead were identified through their ID cards including a young female combatant, Maricel Benegas, 17, and Benjo Endonilla, 17.
He said that he did not really want to wipe out the whole armed group.
"Amidst the hail of bullets, I negotiated for their surrender. I was frustrated that they responded with flying bullets," he said.
Ballasta said that shedding tears for the rebels is not a sign of weakness.
"I felt the pain suffered by the grieving relatives for the death of their loved ones as the news about the incident unfold. I also cried in anger because the communists deceived the young boys into believing that the problems in our society can be resolved by perpetrating atrocities against government forces," he explained.
"We are not happy shooting our misguided kababayans (countrymen) during clashes. We will always try our best to convince them to peacefully surrender and cooperate with the government in solving our problems," he concluded.
Maria Liza Guevarra, 45, the aunt of one of the slain rebel named Jerome Guevara, 24, could not hide her anger for the death of her nephew.