By JB Regalado
Leonardo Panaligan Command
Translation of a voice message
The New People’s Army unit confiscated from the policemen and members of the TANOD and BPAT (village watchmen) seven firearms.
It was not the intention of the NPA to launch an ambush on the police troops of La Castellaña and the members of the TANOD and BPAT in the morning of January 27 in Barrio Puso, La Castellaña, Negros Occidental.
We are deeply saddened that civilians were hit and Verginia Ordonez, wife of Virino Ordonez, the truck driver Ricky Dingcong and 14-year old male youth and others died. The NPA did not intend to kill PO1 Richard Canja, PO 2 Constantino Villena and PO 3 Jeffrey Alvarez and members of the TANOD and BPAT [Barrio Peacekeeping Assistance Team], and especially the civilians.
The truth is the NPA only wanted to disarm these policemen and members of the TANOD and BPAT because they were armed, and some members of the TANOD and BPAT allow themselves to be used to do intelligence work on the moves of the NPA and the revolutionary movement in Barrio Puso Cabacungan in Calatagan, La Castellaña.
Taken were seven arms: two M-16 with serial numbers 181540 amd 183397; a submachine gun with serial number 45N3, an M2 Carbine with serial number 690874, a shotgun, a .45 caliber pistol and a .357 pistol. Also taken were a night vision goggle and magazines and ammunition of aforesaid firearms. Because it was dark, other weapons were not be confiscated. The NPA unit was able to withdraw without any casualty.
It is not true that the policemen and other victims who died were “finished” and shot in the head. There was no massacre.
The statement of Col. Celestino Guara is non-rational and illogical. Governor Marañon’s statement is irresponsible and has no sense. And we are sure that the NPA are not drug-addicts. You (governor) must answer to the public for giving high-powered arms to the TANOD and BPAT.
The police and BPAT should be asked: “Why do you use the truck of the barrio while you are armed? Is it to bring in and use civilians as shields against any attack?
The NPA had no intention to ambush. However, there was the circumstance that when the truck was approaching, an NPA member fired a pistol shot to make the truck stop so that the disarming could follow. Then there followed a loud shot from the truck, followed by more firing. Elements of the NPA were forced to fire back towards the truck.
Notwithstanding these points, the LBC-NPA states to the victims and the public that there was something wrong in the way the LBC-NPA Central Negros handled the NPA rules and the implementation of the CARHRIHL.
Part III of Article 2 of the CARHRIHL: “The right of the victims and their families to seek justice for violations of human rights, including adequate compensation or indemnification, restitution and rehabilitation, and effective sanctions and guarantees against repetition and impunity.”
The NPA is also ready to answer to its responsibility to the victims especially the civilians in accordance with Part III Article 4: “The persons liable for violations and abuses of human rights shall be subject to investigation and if evidence warrants, to prosecution and trial. The victims or their survivors shall be indemnified. All necessary measures shall be undertaken to remove the conditions for violations and abuses of human rights and to render justice to and indemnify the victims.”
In accordance with these [above-mentioned] the LBC-NPA deeply apologizes to the families of the victims. It is prepared to approach you and discuss with you and offer appropriate help.
In the light of the circumstances of what happened, we assure you that those in the NPA unit responsible for what has occurred will be subject to disciplinary action. This includes the one in command, as part of command responsibility.