In an attempt to hide its growing crimes against the people, the AFP continues to weave lies while declaring those murdered and arrested civilians as members of the New People’s Army.
In Masbate, the AFP announced that there was an encounter between the NPA and 2nd IB, 9th ID and PNP in Barangay Buri, Mandaon last April 8. This is to cover-up the murder of their asset led by a Rolando Bajera Epil. Epil and his group were former NPA fighters who have long surrendered to the AFP.
According to the NPA-Masbate, there was no NPA unit present in the area during that time. In fact, only the 2nd IB and PNP-RMG were present in the vicinity along with Epil and six of his co-members. In this fake encounter, the military killed Epil and three of his companions.
Epil and his group have long been protected by the 2nd IB and elements of private armed group controlled by Sgt. Rico Amaro, a notorious military intelligence officer. Amaro is involved in numerous crimes against the people, including the murder of Randy Masamoc, last December 2018.
The 31st IB and Sorsogon Police Provincial Office also faked an encounter in Barangay Lajong, Juban, Sorsogon last April 1 to cover up the AFP and PNP’s salvaging of Michael Ismer, a civilian accused to be a member of NPA.
In a statement by the NPA-Sorsogon, there was no NPA unit present in the area at that period. From the NPA’s investigation, Ismer left his residence in Magallanes to attend to something important. On April 1, he was seen alighting from a white vehicle followed by a police mobile in Barangay Lajong. He was immediately shot to death by the men from the white vehicle. The police immediately retrieved his body and presented him as Red fighter killed in an encounter.
Meanwhile, police forces in San Remigio, Antique spread lies that they foiled NPA-Panay’s attack on their police station on March 31. This was belied by the Red fighters, who said that the PNP is using the lie as an excuse to further militarize civilian communities and to make it appear that the NPA is weakening.
Before this, on March 17, the AFP and PNP also announced a fake encounter in Barangay Mulangan, Igbaras, Iloilo. Soldiers of the 61st IB strafed the village. After this, three farmers were arrested and presented as members of the NPA. The 61st IB also did the same when they arrested a Tumanduk in Barangay Masaroy, Calinog on April 16.
NPA-Camarines Norte contradicted the AFP’s statement that there was an encounter between the PNP and NPA fighters in Barangay Tuaca, Basud in March 3. The NPA unit added that there was no encounter between the NPA and PNP, but instead was an encounter between police forces and armed syndicate supported by the military and involved in extortion activities in Mercedes, San Vicente, San Lorenzo, Daet and Basud towns. Killed in this armed action was Jonathan Brondia, a member of the syndicate. Brondiahad long been coming in and out of 22nd IB detachment in Barangay Guinatungan, San Lorenzo. Based on the NPA’s investigation, Brondia was killed to cover up his syndicate’s connection to the military. Residents have long complained the presence of the said syndicate which used the NPA for their criminal and anti-social activities.
Prior to this, AFP and PNP-MIMAROPA also faked an encounter to cover up the murder of Roland Sibulan, a farmer in Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro last March 1. (Read related article in Ang Bayan, April 7, 2019).