There was no armed encounter that occurred between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Davao de Oro on Thursday, Feb. 24, which resulted in the death of five alleged communist rebels, including prominent Lumad volunteer teacher Chad Booc.
This was the claim asserted by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Friday, Feb. 25, after news of Booc’s death and his alleged cohorts grabbed headlines.
Instead, the CPP leadership accused the military of fabricating an encounter to allegedly hide the circumstances of the incident that led to the death of the suspects.
“There was no encounter in New Bataan, Davao de Oro yesterday where the AFP claims it killed activist Chad Booc and four others. This was confirmed to us by the local NPA unit in the area,” said CPP chief information officer Marco Valbuena.
Valbuena claimed that the AFP’s narrative of neutralizing suspected communist rebels in an armed encounter has repeatedly been used in the past “to cover-up the cold-blooded murder of civilians or unarmed people.”
“The AFP’s ‘encounter' claim is an outright lie. This would not be the first time,” he said.
“We urge their family and friends to uncover the facts surrounding their deaths and demand justice for their murders,” he added.
The Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division previously said that Booc and four others were killed in a firefight with the 1001st Infantry Brigade in New Bataan, Davao de Oro.