MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte may have received an inaccurate report regarding an alleged ambush of communist rebels, and the commander-in-chief's reaction to it should have been more measured, an adviser to the Left said Monday.
Earlier this month, Duterte brought up the deaths of several soldiers in the hands of rebels, even though the government and the Communist Party’s respective unilateral ceasefires were still in effect.
In an interview on ANC's "Headstart," National Democratic Front (NDF) senior adviser Luis Jalandoni said his group received a report different from the president's.
"The report we got from the NPA in that area said that the three were indeed armed and there was no desecration of their bodies. So that we suspect that that was carried out by some other group," Jalandoni said.
"We think that the reaction of President Duterte was on a basis of what was not an accurate report," he added, stressing also that the NPA has "strict policies in carrying out its civil war, its action to protect the people."
Nevertheless, Jalandoni said that Communist Party founder Jose Maria Sison reached out to Duterte after the president said he "was really displeased with" the incident.
"He (Sison) said we understand that President Duterte, as the president of the government, will uphold the position of the government and show concern for his troops, but perhaps his reaction should have been more measured and he should listen to his negotiating panel, Secretary Bello and others," Jalandoni said.
In an internal investigation, Jalandoni said his organization found that the military units allegedly attacked by the NPA "had been very abusive of the people."
Then, in one incident, the communist rebels passed by the three units, which Jalandoni said were armed. The soldiers took out their weapons to fire at the NPA, "so the NPA fired back."
Jalandoni, who maintained that his group believes the report of their comrade, believes this version should be presented to the government and Duterte himself "to get a better view of what exactly happened and to see what the policies and practices are of the NPA."