MANILA, Philippines– A member of the Morong 43 was killed in an encounter with government troops in Bulacan early this month, the military revealed Thursday.
“Good news. It’s confirmed,” Major General Pio Gregorio Catapang of the Armed Forces Northern Luzon Command said, adding that Ramon dela Cruz, one of the three members of the New People’s Army killed in an encounter in Doña Remedios Trinidad town, was a member of the Morong 43, a group of suspected communist rebels who claimed to be as alleged health workers.
Based on the military’s photo gallery, the slain Ramon dela Cruz was the same person arrested during a military operation on a residential compound in Morong, Rizal in 2010, he said.
“I think it’s safe to say that this guy who was captured during the Morong incident was an NPA,” Catapang said.
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Hernando Iriberri, commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division, also said that three rebels, who used to be with dela Cruz’ group and had already returned to government fold, made a positive identification of the slain insurgent.
“Another confirmatory information is that the parents who claimed his body– Danilo and Rosita dela Cruz- are the same parents listed in the information sheet during his stress debriefing when they were arrested in 2010.
Forty-three suspected communist rebels who claimed they were health workers were arrested in Morong town, Rizal, and were later known as Morong 43.
Government security forces claimed they recovered subversive documents and firearms and accused the supposed health workers of bomb-making activities.
Five of the health workers admitted they were NPA members and availed themselves of the government’s amnesty program. The rest were released after the government withdrew charges against them, with some of them reportedly re-joined their armed comrades.
Eight of the suspected rebels filed torture charges against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and police and military officials. The complaints remain pending before local courts.