ZAMBOANGA CITY: Communist rebels have accused Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles of muddling efforts to restart the stalled peace negotiations with the Aquino government.
Daniel Ibarra, a spokesman for the New People’s Army (NPA), said Deles is trying to scuttle the resumption of the talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) by peddling lies and black propaganda.
Deles reportedly accused the NPA of murdering an army officer and 2 soldiers during an ambush on December 29 in Compostela Valley’s Mabini town and breaking a yuletide cease-fire.
“Deles is standing on feeble ground when she qualified the December 29 ambush as a breach of the GPH’s unilateral truce. She peddled such a falsehood to discredit the revolutionary movement and further muddle the substantive issues that should be resolved in the peace talks,” he said.
There was no immediate statement from Deles, who heads the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
Ibarra also criticized the Eastern Mindanao Command and the 10th Infantry Division of covering up the true situation on the ground that led to the killing of First Lieutenant Ronald Bautista, Private First Class Albert Amor and militiaman Renel Baluca.
Lieutenant Genera Aurelio Baladad, chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command, said the three were traveling on a motorcycle in Candinuyan village when rebels ambushed them. He claimed that all of them were in civilian clothes and unarmed, and on their way to visit their families when the rebels ambushed them. He added that the rebels even stripped the dead of their clothes and belongings before escaping in the hinterlands with the victims’ motorcycle.
Ibarra denied this saying the rebels recovered a gun and a fragmentation grenade from the slain Bautista, who headed some 80 soldiers belonging to the 71st Infantry Battalion.
“Bautista was not returning home to reunite with his family during the Christmas as claimed by the military spin doctors. Like his men, he was armed with a handgun and a grenade. Bautista and his companions were not preparing for holiday break, but were geared towards full combat operations in the villages of Palali, Mascareg and Linaw and Darot,” Ibarra said.
Ibarra claimed that the attack on the soldiers, even during a truce, was part of the guerrilla war campaign to foil the plan of the 71st Infantry Battalion and the 10th Infantry Division to impose a no man’s land in Mabini town, specifically in the villages of Darot, Linaw, Mascareg, Palali, Manasa, Anitapan, Panamin and Candinuyan where the Australian miner One Asia Resources is planning to operate.
“Under the deceptive cover of a GPH month-long ceasefire, the ongoing deployment, combat maneuver, build-up and continuing Peace and Development Outreach Program operations of the 71st Infantry Battalion and 10th Infantry Division are actually clearing to pave the way for the operation of Australian-owned One Asia Resources,” he added.
Ibarra warned that the NPA rebels will launch more attacks against government troops who are acting as private armies of foreign and large-scale mining operators in the region.
Government peace talks with the NPA collapsed in 2004 after rebels accused then President Gloria Arroyo of reneging on several agreements, among them the release of all political prisoners in the country and the removal of the terrorist tag on the Communist Party of the Philippines and its political wing, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, and the NPA.
Manila also suspended the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees after the peace talks failed.