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Army says NDF ‘consultant’ is top rebel leader

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Erickson Acosta, reported by the Philippine Army as the first deputy secretary of the Komiteng Rehiyonal Negros Cebu Bohol Siquijor.* 303IB photo

The slain Erickson Acosta, being alleged as consultant of the National Democratic Front by rebel spokesman Ka Bayani Obrero, is another top official of the Komiteng Rehiyonal Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor (KR NCBS), Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, revealed yesterday.

Ka Bayani Obrero, National Democratic Front Negros spokesman, issued a statement alleging that Acosta and his companion which he identified as Joseph Jimenez, were both captured and later executed at Sitio Makilo in Brgy. Camansi, Kabankalan City, on November 30.

Pasaporte said that Acosta and his companion both died following two early morning encounters on Wednesday, between their group and combined forces of the 94th and 47th Infantry Battalions.

Assorted firearms and explosives were among the items recovered by Army soldiers from the encounter sites, aside from the cadavers of the two slain rebels left behind by their fleeing comrades, he added.

Obrero, however, alleged that 94th and 47th Infantry Battalion soldiers strafed the house of the Francisco family at Sitio Makilo in Brgy. Camansi, Kabankalan City, where NDF consultant Acosta and peasant organizer Joseph Jimenez were resting, before they taken forcefully and then “salvaged”.

Based on their investigations and citing testimonies of witnesses, Obrero claimed that Acosta and Jimenez succumbed to hack and stab injuries.

The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division strongly belied the conflicting claims that Acosta was captured alive and later killed by government forces.

Acosta is an armed NPA terrorist, stressed Maj Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 3rd Infantry Division commander.

The 3ID, in a statement, said that Acosta, with aliases of Raffy, Albert Jimenez and Tan Tan, served as the first deputy secretary of KR NCBS, following the capture of Ramon Patriarca in Himamaylan City, and head of its Political Unified Committee.

“The undeniable fact is that Ericson Acosta and his comrade engaged the army troopers in an encounter. It is unfortunate that they were neutralized in the encounter,” Arevalo said.

Pasaporte also said that the Negros NPA description of Acosta as a peasant organizer, song writer, poet and harmless activist, aims to glorify his death and to cover up his involvement in numerous terroristic activities in Negros Island.

He recalled that Acosta and his wife, Kerima Lorena Tariman, were both deployed to Negros Island in 2018 by the national organ of NPA to oversee the NPA regional party in Negros, due to internal squabbles among its leaders.

Tariman, who had served as secretary of recently dismantled Northern Negros Front, died in an encounter last year in Silay City, Negros Occidental, military records showed.

Acosta would be the second high-ranking NPA leader to be neutralized in Negros, following the death of Romeo Nanta, alias Ka Juanito Magbanua, who is tagged by the Philippine Army as a regional commander of the NPA, in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental on October this year.

The NDF-Negros claim that Ericson Acosta is a consultant working on the CASER (Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reform) is a lie, and a propaganda ploy to fuel their deceptive narrative, Arevalo further said.

The CPP-NDF-NPA has once again proven that it is highly capable of twisting the truth to the point that they will deny their own so as to maintain the veil of deceit that shrouds the communist terrorist organization, he stressed.

Pointing out that the CASER is non-existent, Arevalo also said the Philippine government is not engaged in any form of peace negotiations with the CPP-NDF-NPA terrorist organization.

The government does not give scant attention to the CASER nor does it recognize the existence of any consultant of the NDF, he further stressed.*

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