Negros police chief disputes NPA claims on ambuscade
Danny B. Dangcalan (The Philippine Star) - February 3, 2013 - 12:00am

BACOLOD City, Philippines – Lies.

This was the reaction of Senior Superintendent Celestino Guarra Jr., acting Negros Occidental police director, to a statement of the New People’s Army (NPA) denying the testimonies of the survivors that the victims of the ambush in La Castellana, Negros Occidental last week were not shot at close range.

Guara said the autopsy on the fatalities showed that they suffered bullet wounds in the head.

He also disputed the claim of JB Regalado, spokesman for the NPA’s Leonardo Panaligan Command, that the shootout was triggered when the policemen opened fire at the rebels.

In a voice recorded message furnished the media Friday, Regalado said the NPA rebels fired a warning shot to stop the truck carrying the victims, but the policemen opened fire.

“Who can fire first? The firearms held in ambush position or the firearms which are still in the holster?” Guara asked.

The fatalities were identified as  Police Officer 1 Richard Canja;  Jonathan Mateo, Ulysses Tamayor and Ramil Compleza, who were members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team of Cabacungan police outpost; village watchmen Mario Ricablanca and Timoteo Esplegera; driver Enrique Dingcong; and civilians Lito Lucban and Virginia Ordoñez.

Regalado said they regret that civilians became collateral damage when they only wanted to disarm the policemen and village officers.

The rebels specifically apologized to the families of Dingcong and Ordoñez.

Regalado said the NPA will assist the families of the civilian victims and take disciplinary action against the unit responsible for the incident.

The NPA spokesman said they are getting in touch with the families of the victims.

 Meanwhile,Guara said they are readying murder charges and attempted murder charges against at least 20 NPA members belonging to “Larangan Guerilla 1,” for the ambush.

BARANGAY PEACEKEEPING ACTION TEAM OF CABACUNGAN DINGCONG AND ORDO ENRIQUE DINGCONG JONATHAN MATEO LA CASTELLANA LARANGAN GUERILLA LEONARDO PANALIGAN COMMAND LITO LUCBAN AND VIRGINIA ORDO MARIO RICABLANCA AND TIMOTEO ESPLEGERA NEGROS OCCIDENTAL
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