Last week’s ambush of a Rescue 165 vehicle that killed a government nurse remains unresolved. This, despite claims by authorities that the New People’s Army (NPA) was behind the attack. There has not been a conclusive investigation done to establish who were the perpetrators.
Prior to this incident, there were two similar forms of attack that were acknowledged by the NPA as theirs, the targets and casualties being military and police forces. In both instances, the NPA insisted their actions have been punitive or defensive.
The ambush of the provincial government’s rescue vehicle was clearly a premeditated attack. It was planned, as opposed to being an opportunistic incident. The target was a civilian vehicle clearly marked as one belonging to a pandemic frontliner service. The lone pick-up was traveling back to its base in Dumaran town from Roxas when it was mercilessly fired upon by a group of armed men, killing a nurse, Algerome Bernardo, and injuring another civilian.
Clearly, if this was an NPA ambush, it must be condemned as a criminal act devoid of any political or ideological justification. The National Democratic Front (NDF), its political arm, have time and against insisted that they are a belligerent force adhering to certain principles that exclude innocent civilians as targets.
The NPA in Palawan fashions itself as an organized force with its own chain of command. In a statement released by its Bienvenido Vallever Command this week concerning the incident, the group indicated that they are under orders from a higher authority, the Melito Glor command, to conduct an internal investigation.
The local NPA group, an evidently small and tight organization, had always come out to validate its actions whenever it conducts an ambush on government forces. That it had taken them beyond a week to come clean with a categorical statement about this particular incident raises valid questions about its role.
The NPA is being disingenuous at buying time by saying it is conducting an internal investigation. While such practice is also a common recourse in government cases, the NPA is evidently not being forthright here.
If this was a case of a deliberate attack, it is not acceptable and must be damned. If it was a mistake, then the NPA should be challenged to own up and take responsibility. This particular incident is for them a test of credibility or lack thereof.