MANILA - The Philippine Army on Friday apologized for releasing a manipulated photo of former communist rebels in Masbate town.
Maj. Ricky Aguilar, spokesperson of the Army's 9th Infantry Division, claimed in a statement that the "photoshopping" was to "ensure the safety" of the surrenderers and their families.
"Our line unit's intention is not to mislead the public, but to protect the lives of the Former Rebels (FRs) who placed themselves at risk by surrendering to the government," Aguilar said.
"We apologize for the honest mistake. We are hoping for your kind understanding."
The Army earlier released a press statement claiming 306 rebels surrendered to them at their headquarters in Milagros town in December.
One of the pictures looked like the former rebels were floating on air.
Another photo also showed that one of the rifles, which were supposedly turned over by the rebels, had a tag with "18 June 2019", drawing suspicions that the the gun was "recycled".
Aguilar claimed that negotiations with the rebels began in October and the actual surrender was done on Thursday. - With reports from Zhander Cayabyab, and Karren Canon, ABS-CBN News