NDF consultant Ericson Acosta, companion killed in military operation in Negros

By JOVILAND RITA,GMA Integrated News

National Democratic Front (NDF) consultant Ericson Acosta and a peasant organizer were killed in a military operation in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental early Wednesday morning, the NDF-Negros said.

In a statement, NDF-Negros spokesperson Ka Bayani Obrero said the 94th Infantry Battalion (94IB) and 47th Infantry Battalion (47IB) captured the two alive in Sitio Makilo, Barangay Camansi around 2:00 a.m.

But a few hours later, Obrero said the military tagged Acosta and his companion as casualties of an encounter.

“NDF Negros, in the strongest terms, condemns the 94th IB, 47th IB and top dogs of the 3rd ID for the summary execution of Ka Ericson and his companion,” he said.

“The two were victims of the [Armed Forces of the Philippines'] despicable policy of ‘taking no prisoners’ in their counter-insurgency campaign,” he added.

Obrero said Acosta was in Kabankalan City to consult on the situation of farm workers in the southern Negros Occidental and share developments on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER).

In a separate statement, progressive group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. described the deaths of Acosta and his companion as “summary executions” because "there was no firefight that took place."

“There was no firefight that took place. The manner of killing is consistent with many summary executions made to appear as ‘encounters’ and ‘firefights,” he said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Colonel Medel Aguilar called the statement of NDF-Negros "lies," saying that the group was trying to discredit the AFP.

“What we hear from NDF-Negros are lies. Their statements are far from the truth to merit our people’s attention. They will not succeed in their attempt to discredit our organization,” Aguilar told GMA News Online in a message.


According to a report from the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), two persons from the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) were killed in an “encounter.”

The 3ID said the first encounter took place around 2:10 a.m. while the two battalions were conducting a joint combat operation in the area after residents reported the presence of supposed NPA rebels.

After a five-minute firefight, the NPAs withdrew southward, the military said.

Another encounter occurred 100 meters from the first clash site around 2:15 a.m. as the troops conducted pursuit operations.

“The ten-minute exchange of fire yielded two unidentified dead NPAs,” the 3ID said.

According to the military, seized from deceased suspected rebels were a KG9 with magazine and ammunition, two Cal.45 Pistol with magazines and ammunition, two hand grenades, documents, and lecture materials.

“The successive debacle of the NPA terrorist in Negros is a clear manifestation that they are losing grip and influence over their claimed mass base,” 3ID commander Major General Benedict Arevalo said.

According to Bayan, Acosta was an NDF consultant during the peace talks in 2016 to 2017 for the drafting of the agreement on socio-economic reforms.

He also participated in the formal peace talks and discussions of the reciprocal working committees, it added.—AOL, GMA Integrated News