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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Army not after NDF-Bicol Spokesman’s death in Sorsogon

QUEZON CITY – Family members of National Democratic Front (NDF) spokesman in Bicol who died in an encounter in Sorsogon last Thursday, July 4, came to claim his body to give him a proper burial in his own hometown.

The death of Ka Greg Bañares (Frankie Joe Soriano), NDF Bicol spokesman, was a tragedy that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) do not relish despite the fact that it might be taken as a victory on our part as media and the public would see it.

Celso Minguez Command (New People’s Army -Sorsogon) admitted on its official blog statement that Ka Greg Bañares was among the eight casualties in the 35-minute firefight between Army’s 31st Infantry Battalion, 9th Infantry Division and an NPA unit in Barangay Upper Calmayon, Juban, Sorsogon last Thursday morning.

Captain Mardjorie Paimela Panesa, Acting Chief of 9ID’s Public Affairs Office, said personnel from 31st IB verified that among those dead was Franky Soriano (listed Frankie Joe Soriano in Celso Minguez Command blog), aka Samuel Guerero/Ka Greg Bañares.

She said that his body was claimed by a family member who confirmed that he was from San Roque, Nabua, Camarines Sur and a graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. His wake is currently held in the house of his relatives in Bgy Bonot, Legaspi City. 

She verified that the troops in Sorsogon, who were performing security operations, were not after his death and that his presence there was unknown to them.

Lieutenant Colonel Medel Aguilar, acting spokesman of 9th Infantry Division, Philippine Army in Bicol, said that most of dead there were high-ranking officials of NPA Sorsogon.  He specifically identified Ka Miloy aka Dado as political instructor of the provincial guerilla unit (PGU).

Among those listed by 9ID but were not accounted by Celso Minguez Command on its blog were Arnel Estiller, aka Ariston, leader of the small NPA unit encountered in Juban, a certain Alicia, aka Ja/Jackelyn/Manay, of the regional guerilla unit (RGU) and Abby, RGU staff and video editor of Dagundong ng Bikol (DnB), the regular video broadcast of the Communist Party of the Philippines and NPA in the Bicol Region airing via video compact disks (CDs) distributed here.

Army also listed a certain David Lunar, a resident of Barangay Gabao, Irosin, Sorsogon, who might be the same person as Ka Rey (David Llunar) listed by Celso Minguez Command.

The NPA Command also named in its blog Ka Miloy (Pehing Hipa), Ka Nel (Christine Puche), Ka Gary (Ted Palacio), Ka Rey (David Llunar), Ka Nene (Romero Añonuevo), Ka Jay (William Villanueva, Jr), at Ka Kevin (Ailyn Calma) as those 'martyred' among their ranks in the same encounter.

NPA couple

Soriano,40, died in the company of his 'party wife', Christine Puche who is known as Ka Nel in the communist movement. Puche was said to be a graduate from the University of the Philippines.

A relative who requested anonymity said that Soriano met Puche sometime in 2000 when he was actively involved in protest rallies against former President Joseph Estrada.

The duo married later and had two young children who were left to the care of Puche's parents in Legaspi City. 

Born in San Isidro village, Libmanan town in Camarines Sur, Soriano was raised by his parents who are both public school teachers. He was the eldest among three siblings, one of whom is also a public school teacher like his parents. 

Since 2008, Soriano disappeared and was never heard of by his closest relatives. 

Most of his friends and relatives were surprised that he was the voice of the NPA in Bicol under the nom de guerre  Greg Banares. They only learned about this fact when the CPP-NPA-NDF published his real name on its website after his death.

Abandon armed struggle

Col Joey Kakilala, 53,  the Commander of the Army's 903rd Infantry Brigade based in Castilla town in Sorsogon said that the people in the community are already fed up by the oppressive collection of extortion money by the CPP-NPA-NDF. 

"We receive complaints from the civilian residents about these extortion activities carried out by heavily-armed members of the NPA. It is our constitutional mandate to protect the people from any armed threats," said Kakilala, an awardee of the prestigious Presidential Lingkod Bayan and Metrobank Foundation's The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS).

Kakila said that his troops have continued its focused-military operations against NPA extortionists in his area of responsibility. 

He said that it is high time that the remnants of the bandit group think about their options.

"We are not rejoicing over the deaths of these fellow kababayans but we have a mandate to perform. The NPA has to abandon the use of armed struggle and instead, join us in solving our common problems," he said.


  1. Am very happy of the care of the civilians!

    1. It is our sworn duty to protect the people from any armed threats.

      The soldiers have pledged to offer their lives in the service of the people.

      While we are performing our mandates, the welfare of our people is always on top of our mind because we are their protectors.

  2. In most cases, the innocent civilians become the causalities and sacrifices in the firefights and encounter between the military and the rebels.

    Almost a hundred thousands, mostly civilians, died in Syria, Middle East, and the world doesn't know how to end the bloody conflict.

    I want to give credit to the Philippine Army Administration. In this 21st century, people must be able to settle every difference in peace not in blood.

  3. cs aplicant villahermosa israelMon Jul 08, 01:31:00 AM

    politicians., do, political matter., soldier do military operations., let the soldier do, their job. the grp is the only govrment., if dz bloody conflict,is the only way., so help the army GOD,

  4. Fredcheock,

    We all want to end the internal armed conflict in our country. We are bleeding as a nation and we want to stand up and be united towards peace and development.

    We are aware that no one is a real winner in war, especially in our case where both parties to the conflict are all Filipinos.

    We will always endeavor to address the root causes of this problem. We need the help of all sectors in our society because we could not do it alone.


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