Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Maria Sison on Wednesday cast doubt on reports that soldiers killed 14 communist rebels in Nasugbu, Batangas yesterday, saying human rights groups should investigate the incident.
Speaking to ANC, Sison said people should not trust the "claims of false news of the psywar officers of Duterte's army, the same you cannot trust the false news of his troll army."
"Human rights organizations should be able to go there and investigate whether there has been a real fight between the New People's Army and the reactionary army," he added.
He warned that there are many reports of killings in the country "and there are quick accusations the victims are NPA rebels but in fact they are civilians. We have the ring of falsity and lies coming from the Duterte regime. We should be careful and try to investigate the veracity of all these reports."
Military and police earlier said 5 NPA guerrillas were killed in Sitio Pinamuntasan, Barangay Aga in Nasugbu while another 9 rebels were killed in Sitio Batulao, Barangay Kaylaway. The government side reported five injuries. The injured rebels and government troops were brought to nearby hospitals.
Brigadier General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade, said government troops recovered 12 high-powered firearms from the encounter site.
The military believes that the fatalities are remnants of the same NPA group that suffered heavy casualties during an encounter with the elements of the 730th Combat Group under Maj. Engelberto Nioda last November 20, 2017 at Baragay Utod.
Batangas City provincial director Senior Supt. Alden Delvo told DZMM Tuesday night that another encounter ensued between government forces and NPA rebels in the province last week.
News of the encounter came following President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to end peace talks with the communist movement, saying hostilities had continued during negotiations. The president also blasted the NPA anew for carrying out an ambush in Talakad, Bukidnon that left a 4-month-old baby dead, saying it was an "intentional" act.
Sison, meanwhile, branded Duterte a "swindler" and said the National Democratic Front is "sick and tired" of Duterte's decision to terminate the peace negotiations as many as 3 times within 6 months.
He said negotiating panels had already drafted a package of 3 agreements on agrarian reform, rural development, release of political prisoners, and several others before the talks were terminated.
"Duterte is not known for respecting agreements. He can do what he wants. He can go on a rampage of mass murder. The NDF will respond to the violation of agreements and to the murderous rampage," he said.
The CPP founder, however, denied that he gives advice to NPA rebels but said the communist underground is ready to fight.
"I don't give advice, orders or whatever to the NPA. When I said NPA is ready and eager to fight...I get this information from publications of [Communist Party of the Philippines]," he said.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza earlier said the President "really went out of his way before" for the peace negotiations but decided to terminate it due to continuous attacks by NPA rebels.
"He (Duterte) came to a point where he said there is no more enabling environment that will be conducive to the continuation of peace negotiations so he decided to cancel it finally," Dureza said.
For his part, NDF consultant Satur Ocampo said the 5th round of talks was supposed to finalize a coordinated unilateral ceasefire. He said the President "has lost sight of the long-term view and only looked at specific instances while the consequent reaction is too much."