NPA says military, not Davao mayor, was target of attack

Subscribe Now February 04, 2011 at 09:51pm

The New People’s Army operating in the hinterlands of the city on Thursday denied military reports that it targeted Mayor Sara Duterte for an ambush in the Paquibato district using a command-detonated land mine on January 30. Leoncio Pitao, leader of the Merardo Arce Command, said the explosion was meant for a supply unit of the 69th Infantry Battalion.

A soldier was wounded in the blast, which prompted Duterte to cancel a city government-sponsored service caravan to Paquibato district.

Pitao, also known as Commander Parago, said in an emailed statement that the soldiers did not act as Duterte’s advance security as claimed by Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Santiago of the military’s 10th Infantry Division.

“Santiago ludicrously referred to the 69th IB supply team as advance security forces for Sara Duterte to camouflage their combat and supply personnel that have been engaged in continuous full-scale combat operations in Paquibato since January 10,” he said.

Parago said the ambush could not have targeted Duterte as the blast occurred in Purok (zone) 5 in the interior barangay (village) of Mapula, which was “far away from the actual route and destination of Sara Duterte’s personnel in Barangay Paquibato Proper.”

“It is not in the best interest and principle of the NPA and the masses to attack GRP civil servants like Sara Duterte, who has worked for dialogue in base areas like Paquibato, where poor peasants have been at the receiving end of the 10th ID’s continuing brutality,” added Parago, whose daughter was allegedly abducted and killed by military intelligence agents a few years ago.

He said the NPA would like to assure Duterte that she will never be harmed in NPA areas.

“The revolutionary mass base looks forward to her visits and assures her safety,” Parago said.

The rebel leader, a known friend of Duterte’s father, Rodrigo Duterte, said “the Davao City mayor need not tag along an entourage of heavy military escorts just to deliver social services to the people.”

“Because the revolutionary mass base and the People’s Democratic Government shall be her protection,” he said.

Duterte has yet to respond to the NPA statement.


« 3 killed in Davao Sur fire Governors sign environment accord »