Democratic processes ignored by rebels, says Army chief

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / May 14) – The communist rebels do not anymore respect democratic processes of the country, Army chief Lt. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu said following a broad day light ambush a day after the election in Maragusan Town, Compostela Valley Province that left five people dead, including a poll watcher.

“They do not even respect the human rights of the people, the civilians,” said Mapagu in televised interview.

Mapagu, former chief of the 10th Infantry Division based in this city, condemned the attack of the communist rebels that killed two Army soldiers, two Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) members, and a poll watcher. Nine soldiers and three civilians were wounded.

The victims were on their way to Maragusan poblacion to bring back the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) at around 9:10 a.m. on May 11.

Mapagu said the soldiers who thwarted the rebel attack “did their best to protect the PCOS machines and the civilians”.

Killed were Sergeant Jose Osman and Private First Class Makrell Bakil, and two members of the CAFGU.

The rebels later expressed their apology to the family of the fatalities and wounded civilians, a move that the top brass of the military criticized. “It’s not acceptable. It’s not enough for their irresponsible undertakings,” said AFP chief of staff Delfin Bangit.

Major Gen. Carlos Holganza, 10th ID chief, said “it seems that the leadership of the communist rebels has no control of their men”.

Investigation was underway among the rebels to penalize the members who staged the attack, according to spokesman Ka Simon Santiago.

Bangit, Mapagu and Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales personally condoled with the relatives of the two soldiers who died in the attack.

Financial assistance was extended to the relatives of the fatalities and the nine soldiers wounded in the incident.

“We pray that justice will prevail in favor of the unfortunate victims and that the perpetrators be held liable for their atrocities against the Filipino people,” said Capt. Emmanuel Garcia, 10th ID spokesman.
The military called on the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the ambush. (Rico Biliran/MindaNews)