Sunday, March 25, 2018

Captured ‘rebels’ test negative for gunpowder

From the Visayan Daily Star (Mar 24): Captured ‘rebels’ test negative for gunpowder

The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division is unfazed by the negative results of the paraffin tests of six suspected New People’s Army rebels, who were captured by soldiers of the 62nd Infantry Battalion, after an encounter in Mabinay, Negros Oriental, early this month.

Capt. Eduardo Precioso, 3rd Infantry Division spokesman, yesterday said that the 3ID strongly believes that the results of the paraffin tests conducted on the six captured rebels will not alter the criminal charges against them.

Of the six captured rebels, two are minors and one a woman. They are facing charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Being tested negative of gunpowder nitrates, Precioso said, does not mean that they will be freed from multiple charges.

The arrest of the six suspected rebels, according to the military, yielded six high-powered firearms and explosives, including M-16 and M-4 assault rifles.

The New People’s Army in Negros has repeatedly denied that the six have links to the NPA.

During the encounter, Precioso said the six captured rebels, were among the 20 CPP-NPA members, mostly teenagers, who engaged the government troops in a firefight.

He added that the captured rebels were abandoned by their fleeing comrades.

I f they were found negative for gun powder burns, it does not follow that they are not NPAs, Precioso stressed, noting that Frank Fernandez, spokesman of the National Democratic Front-Negros and the Leonardo Panaligan Command, are consistently defending them.

Their defense only shows that they are, indeed, members of the terrorist organization, he added.

One of the six high-powered firearms, an M-4 Bushmaster, seized by 62IB soldiers turned out to be owned by a businessman in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental.

The high-powered firearm was taken from the businessman’s residence in 2007, Precioso added.

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