(UPDATED) The makeshift NPA camp deep in the jungles of Sitio Kubuyoan, Barangay Mainit was up early that Thursday to prepare meals.
From inside four thatched-roof huts emerged an estimated 15 armed rebels who went about their rugged routine with surefooted alertness, as a crack unit of marines lurked from their covers waiting for the order to strike.
A soldier spots a female fighter cautiously moving about. He would soon find out that she was Andrea “Ka Naya” Rosal, the high profile daughter of former NPA spokesman Gregorio Rosal.
Then all hell broke loose.
“I can assume alert siya,” recalls Brigadier General Nestor Herico, commander of the 3rd Marine Brigade (3MBde), who led the operation.
The firefight lasted just about 15 minutes. One soldier belonging to the 3rd Marine Brigade lay dead, with a gaping wound on his upper back.
“Kung hindi ba naman sila alert, bakit ganoon na rin yong inabot noong sundalo ko na tinamaan ng M203 [grenade launcher] nila. Matindi ang tama sa likod, sa may batok ni SSgt. [Cesar] Barlas na tinamaan nila,” he said.
Andrea and five others were also killed from where they fought back. As it turned out, three of them were high ranking rebel leaders including Salvador Luminoso, the spokesman of the so-called Bienvenido Vallever Command (BVC), the motley rebel group operating in Palawan.
Bonifacio “Salvador Luminoso” Magramo is reportedly the “secretary” of the sub-regional military guerilla unit under the STRPC and Noel “Ka Celso” Siasico, who served as the front operational commander.
“This is a one-time big-time [operation]. The top three leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) we have in Palawan were neutralized. Andrea Rosal, alias Ka Naya, if I’m not mistaken, is the daughter of Ka Roger”, who was the spokesperson of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee (STRPC),” General Herico said.
Andrea, her father’s daughter
An article by Karapatan in 2014 alleged that in 1989 when Andrea was only five years old, she was “abducted” uhttp://Karapatannder her grandmother’s care to force Ka Roger to surrender to the government. She was only released when the public came to know about the incident and took interest in the story.
Ka Roger was the rebel leader who established the NPA in Southern Tagalog and Bicol during the 70s and 80s. He became popular as a leader of the communist party when he started as its talking head or spokesperson in media interviews around 1994.
Karapatan claimed that the violation of Andrea’s rights continued because of her family ties with Ka Roger. On March 14, 2014, when she was in her seventh month of pregnancy, the peasant leader was detained by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Caloocan City with Edward Lazanas while on her way for a pre-natal check-up.
Andrea was detained without any legally warranted detention order before her transfer to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig. Her captors accused her of murder and murder with kidnapping.
In detention, she gave birth to a baby girl she named “Diona Andrea Rosal”. The baby, however, died due to hypoxemia or lack of oxygen in the blood.
Andrea was released on September 7, 2015, after the murder and murder with kidnapping charges lodged against her were dismissed by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 64 of Mauban, Quezon province, and a Pasig court due to insufficiency of evidence.
On her first day of freedom on September 8 also in 2015, Andrea wore a black t-shirt printed with Ka Roger’s face and the words “Serve the People” as she answered questions from the media.
Andrea, who believed she was detained simply because she was her father’s daughter, vowed to fight back against those who detained her and caused her baby to die, according to an article published by Bulatlat.
Hindi biro-biro ang naging karanasan ko,” Andrea was quoted by the news organization is saying. “Kung nadala lang ako agad sa ospital, hindi sana iyon nangyari sa anak ko”.
Herico said they came to learn about Andrea’s presence in Palawan sometime in September 2016. At that time, he was on his way out of the province for a new assignment in the Philippine Marines.
“Nasa video siya, may informant na nagsabi na siya si Ka Naya na anak ni Ka Roger. Right after makalaya siya, dito sa Palawan siya pumunta, if I’m not mistaken September 2016 yon. Leader na nga siya ng Kilusang Larangang Guerilla (KLG) sa North,” Herico said.
“Sa kasamaang palad, yong paraan ng pag-fight back niya, instead na dapat ginawa niyang legal, yong pinili niya yong prinsipyong maka-kaliwa na hindi tama dahil sa pang-agrabyado rin sa mga inosenteng sibilyan,” he added.
Herico said Magramo, Rosal, and Siasico have standing warrants of arrest and were among the top wanted NPA in Palawan. They were responsible for the “harassment” of government forces and the perpetration of atrocities that recently victimized a COVID-19 government frontliner”.
Also killed during the encounter were Rona Manalo, alias Ka Ren and Ka Amir, and another rebel identified only as a certain Ka Rj.
The Palawan Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF ELCAC), in a separate statement made Friday, said that the government troops are still scouring and clearing the encounter site and its adjacent community.
The remains of the suspected rebels are being transported and turned over to the municipal government of Brooke’s Point as of posting.