Lorenzana junks NDF claim on Samar ‘misencounter’

MANILA — Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday dismissed claims by the National Democratic Front (NDF) that the misencounter between Army troops and police officers in Samar last Monday would have been prevented if the stand-down of forces agreement was observed.

“Ano naman ang (What is the) connection? Dahil everyone will be in the barracks? Accidents in the field happens especially if coordination is poor. What happened in Samar is just like in Mamasapano – lack of prior coordination,” he added.

Around 9:20 a.m. Monday, elements from the 1st Platoon, 805th Company, Regional Mobile Force Battalion 8 of the PNP and troops from 87th Infantry Battalion had a misencounter in Sitio Lonoy, Barangay San Roque, Sta. Rita, Samar that resulted in the death of six policemen and wounding of nine others.

“Initial report(s) (state) that the PNP (Philippine National Police) leadership in Samar made the coordination after their troops are already in the area or a little late because by then the misencounter was already happening,” Lorenzana added.

NDF peace consultant Rey Casambre claimed that the six policemen would still be alive had not the DND and Armed Forces of the Philippines rejected the stand-down of forces which was agreed upon in the Government of the Republic of the Philipines-NDFP talks.

The agreement was signed last June 8 and was supposed to take effect a week ahead of the resumption of peace talks originally scheduled from June 28 to 30.

However, this was not implemented as the government decided to suspend peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines to give the public more participation in the peace process.

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