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Scout Rangers lead operation against Negros Occidental attackers

January 29, 2013 9:25pm

(Updated 10:34 p.m.) The Philippine Army's elite Scout Rangers backed by helicopter gunships and a battalion of regular infantry have been deployed against  communist new people’s army rebels responsible for last Sunday’s ambush in La Castellana, Negros Occidental. The ambush had left eight civilian village guards and a policeman dead.

“One thing is definite, they cannot escape liability… They have to face, ultimately, the judgment of the [courts],” said Army 3rd Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta.

“The rangers are on top of it [the pursuit operation], actually. The man on the ground is Lt. Col. Oriel Pangcog,” added Mabanta, referring to the commander of the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion.

The 3rd Division commander said the military operation was concentrating on the boundary between Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. “We know that after such incidents, the first thing they will do is they will hide,” he said.

Mabanta also challenged the human rights group Karapatan to look into the ambush. “It's really time for them to come out and show that they are really unbiased when it comes to implementation of human rights,” he said.

Karapatan Secretary-General Cristina Palabay was quick to respond to Mabanta and said the AFP general was resorting to red-baiting.

"When they get defeated on the battlefield, they vent their ire on organizations like Karapatan and individuals whom they allege to be NPA sympathizers,” said Palabay.

She lamented that the government and its security forces seemingly considered Karapatan the enemy.

“Our (Karapatan's) record in the defense, promotion, and protection of human rights speaks for itself--as how we are considered as among the country's leading human rights organizations by our fellow Filipinos and the international community,” Palabay added. — DVM, GMA News
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