By ACE ALEGRE
BAGUIO CITY – Communist guerillas operating in Ilocos Sur has admitted that two of their comrades were slain by government soldiers in an almost week-long gun battle in Cervantes town, Ilocos Sur a week ago.
Benny Boy “Ka Likot” Aguilar and Delfin “Ka Dindo” Gullayan died on the second day of the skirmishes, said Armando Silva, spokesman of the Ilocos Sur–based Alfredo Cesar Command of the NPA.
Earlier, the Northern Luzon Command said that government troops had killed Aguilar and wounded others more during the fighting in the remote Cervantes town in Ilocos Sur on September 23.
Aguilar, 23, hailed from the urban poor sector in Sampaloc, Metro Manila, said Silva of the NPA-Ilocos Sur.
The military reportedly displayed Aguilar’s torn body to torment the people of Cervantes a day after the encounter. Simon Naogsan, spokesman of the Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front (CPDF), an allied organization of the NDF, denounced this.
Silva said that “Aguilar’s body bore signs of “overkill” – his skull was shattered, one of his eyes was detached from its socket, and his chest caved in due to multiple gunshots and heavy bashing, all of which are clear violations of the CARHRIHL.”
The second slain rebel– Gullayan, 28, was from Baclingayan, Tubo, Abra. He was reportedly found dead only on September 29, five days after the firefight.
But according to Silva, the military troopers suffered “more casualties,” although Capt. Jovelyn Cabading, spokesman of the Northern Luzon Command of the AFP, said only one soldier was wounded during the almost week-long firefights in the hinterlands of Ilocos Sur.
A soldier was wounded in the September 23 firefight while another soldier died in the September 24 encounter, said Silva.
“A total of 15 died and no less than six other soldiers were wounded from the operating troops of the 50th IB of the Philippine Army.”
Silva recounted that the first clash happened in Remedios village (Cervantes) where four soldiers died and six others were wounded in September 23. Ten soldiers died at Bulaga, in the village of Aluling on September 24. An undetermined number were wounded at Maupong, Brgy. Concepcion on September 26.
Because of their losses, the military “went on a rampage and arrested five civilians whom they suspected as NPA members,” Silva said.
Captain Cabading of the Nolcom admitted that four suspected NPA members were arrested, but she added they were turned over to the police.
But Silva disputed it, saying the persons arrested are still being held by the military. They are Edward Galao of Cabaroan, Concepcion village, Cervantes, Ilocos Sur, Kidsol Keeg of Remedios village, Cervantes and Hilario Bantio, 44, from Labaan, Tabio, Mankayan, Benguet.
Meanwhile, the following had been released: Mathew Sawey of Langsoyan, Brgy. Aluling, Cervantes and Francis Tengngedan of Cawag, Brgy. Aluling .