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Nation

NDF consultant, companion killed in Negros

Gilbert Bayoran - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Two New People’s Army (NPA) rebels were killed in an encounter with Army soldiers in Sitio Makilo, Barangay Camansi in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental yesterday.

One of the fatalities was identified by the National Democratic Front (NDF) as its consultant, artist and poet Ericson Acosta.

Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said the clash occurred at around 2:10 a.m. as government troopers responded to the reported presence of armed men in the area.

The military said a KG9 automatic pistol with a magazine and bullets, two caliber .45 pistols, two fragmentation grenades and subversive documents were recovered from the fatalities, who were abandoned by their comrades.

In a statement, the NDF-Negros  condemned the 94th and 47th Infantry Battalions for the ”summary execution”  of Acosta and his companion, said to be a peasant organizer.

Activist group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said that based on a report it received from NDF-Negros, Acosta was captured alive.

”There was no firefight that took place. The manner of killing is consistent with many summary executions made to appear as encounters and firefights,” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said.

The NDF-Negros said Acosta and his companion were arrested at around 2 a.m.  and later tagged as ”casualties of a fake encounter.”

NDF-Negros spokesman Bayani Obrero said Acosta was in Kabankalan  to consult farm workers and report on developments regarding the Comprehensive Agreement on Social Economic Reforms as one of its consultants.

Acosta was a political prisoner from 2011 to 2013. He was released after the Department of Justice dismissed the illegal possession of firearms and explosives charges filed against him.

He was NDF consultant during the peace talks with communist rebels fom 2016 to 2017.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Col. Medel Aguilar denied the allegations of NDF-Negros, dismissing them as “propaganda to cover up for their tactical defeat to discredit the AFP.” – Elizabeth Marcelo, Ralph Edwin Villanueva

NPA

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