NPA claims slain Davao Sur barangay captain tried to fight back

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/10 January) — The Communist New People’s Army (NPA) said the barangay captain killed on January 8 in an NPA attack in Barangay Datu Danwata, Malita Davao del Sur tried to fight back.

Dencio Madrigal, the spokesperson of the NPA’s Valentin Palamine regional command, said in a statement e-mailed to the media that Datu Danwata Barangay Captain Ramon Danwata ordered his men, the members of the Civilian Volunteer Organization and the Barangay Defense System (BDS) to fight back, not knowing that they, his men, had already been disarmed by the NPA earlier.

He said the NPAs belonging to the Alex Ababa operations of the NPA’s Front 71 tried to convince Danwata to surrender because Danwata was “not in the NPA’s standing order.” The statement, however, said Danwata was involved in the recent capture of Eliseo (Ka Bimbo) Tada, and that the NPA warned him to go slow on his “active role in counterinsurgency operations.”

“It took quite some time for the Red fighters to convince him to surrender but he commanded instead the Civilian Volunteer Organization and the Barangay Defense System to fight back, unaware that they had already peacefully surrendered their firearms to the NPA,” the statement said.

The incident happened at 9 am, Saturday, “in full view of the terrified community,” said Lt. Col. Medel Aguilar, 10th ID spokesperson, in the military’s version of the event.  “First, they took the wife as hostage, then, brutally murdered the husband and ambushed the soldiers who came for help.”

Aguilar said more or less 30 armed men belonging to the NPA Guerilla Front 71 held Susan Danwata, 52, the barangay captain’s wife and called the barangay captain  to come out of his house.

“When he did, he was peppered with bullets and died instantly,” Aguilar said. He said the armed men who held hostage his wife were also the one who shot Danwata.  Aguilar called the barangay captain a “staunch supporter of the government’s peace and development program.”

At 12 noon, soldiers belonging to the 39th IB responded to the call for help were ambushed along the way in the village of Bolila. Three soldiers wounded from the ambush are now recuperating at Camp Panacan military hospital. Aguilar said residents helped bring the wounded soldiers to the hospital.

Major General Jorge Segovia, the 10th ID commander, said this will not affect the peace and development program they are conducting in the communities. Aguilar said he was not sure whether or not Danwata fought back but said he must have been outnumbered.

Madrigal said in the statement the rebels were able to take away  three M16 rifles, one M14, two carbines, one M79, one Garand unit, three 12-gauge shotguns and a caliber .22 pistol – a total of 12 high powered rifles—during the raid but denied the claims made by the military that they ransacked a store. (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)

“It is totally untrue,” the statement said of the claim by Colonel Oliver Artuz of the 39th IB that NPAs ransacked a store during the raid.

“What was confiscated were war materials like rifles, ammunition and other military paraphernalia used in counterinsurgency operations,” Madrigal said in the statement.

“The NPA fully abides by its iron discipline,” the statement said. “Never get a single item, not even a piece of thread,from the masses,” Madrigal said, adding that people in barangay Datu Danwata can attest to this.

“All Red fighters are bound by the NPA rules and regulations, this is why we are cherished by the people,” he added. (Germelina Lacorte/Mindanews)