THE Philippine Army on Monday denied that the two New People’s Army (NPA) members, one of them a minor, who surrendered to authorities were missing as claimed by the human rights group.
Brig. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, commander of the Army’s 502nd Infantry Brigade based in Isabela, clarified that the two were farmers but joined the NPA. They surrendered to the Army’s 86th Infantry Battalion.
On November 12, the military reported that a platoon from the 86th Infantry Battalion (86thIB) encountered about 20 NPA members, under Commander Jushua, at the vicinity of Sitio Minanga, Barangay San Carlos in Echague. The firefight resulted in the death of Corporal Denver Banban.
A day after, Bacarro said the platoon conducted pursuit operations and two former NPA fighters — Roberto Dalupang Jr., 17, and Oliver Molina, 26, both from Isabela — approached the troops. They were unarmed and said they want to surrender.
But days later the surrender, human rights group Karapatan and the Isabela-based farmers’ group Danggayan dagiti Mannalon ti Isabela (Dagami) released a statement, saying two farmers had been missing for days.
Bacarro said the two rebels admitted to the military that they were active members of the NPA and were part of numerous attacks and ambushes on some troops.
He added the two also told the military that Kumander Jushua killed their wounded comrade after their encounter with the 86thIB.