The Philippine Army on Tuesday slammed left-leaning groups for spreading fake news on the death of top finance officer of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Northern Samar and the wounding of his daughter.
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Lt. Col. Juan Gullem, commander of the Army’s 20th Infantry Battalion (20IB) said there’s no truth to the claim of the communist terrorist group that the daughter of Zaldy Meraya alias “Podyot” is critically wounded when soldiers “strafed their house”.
Gullem said Meraya’s daughter, Jolina, is in stable condition after she was slightly injured during a brief firefight between her father and government troops in remote Bagacay village, Palapag, Northern Samar.
She is now under the care of the Northern Samar provincial government.
“Simply, the NPAs want to twist the story because they are losing. The death of Zaldy is a big loss to their resource generation activities,” Gullem said.
Zaldy is a notorious NPA member responsible for various extortion activities in Northern Samar that amassed millions of funds for the communist terrorist group.
He was killed while resisting arrest inside his safe house on June 20.
The government troops were about to serve a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Decoroso Turla dated May 11, 2020 for multiple attempted murder, when he fired his gun, which triggered a brief armed engagement.
The operation was an offshoot of the encounter between the government troops and the communist terrorist group in the same village on June 14, which led to the discovery of the NPA lair large enough to accommodate about 50 fighters with 21 makeshift bunkers, four posts, and toilets.
The operation was conducted after soldiers received information from residents about the rebel presence in their area.
Combat tracking on June 20 led the soldiers to the safe house of the notorious NPA fighter, where troops recovered two .45-caliber pistols, a laptop, 12 mobile phones, three flash drives, and subversive documents.
Gullem is optimistic that Zaldy’s death will lessen, if not totally stop the extortion activities and resource generation of the communist terrorist group in the pacific towns of Northern Samar.
Hours after the incident, left-leaning organizations such as the League of Filipino Students (LFS) Anakbayan and Kabataan Partylist posted that Jolina is in critical condition after government troops “mercilessly strafed their house”.
Gullem said it was not a strafing incident since they were just serving a warrant of arrest when Zaldy attacked them.
“Left-leaning groups posted on social media and was shared by their allies saying that their fellow LFS member, Jolina Meraya was critically wounded. The truth is Jolina is in stable condition and she even talked to me and Rey Christian Sabado,” the official added.
Sabado, 22, was a former NPA member recruited while studying at Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
He was captured by government troops in Northern Samar last year while conducting extortion activities for the NPA.
Source: Philippines News Agency