By LITO RULONA
THE soldier who was identified as one of those who harassed and forced natives to evacuate to the capitol here broke his silence on Tuesday night, and accused the evacuees from Sitio Kamansi, Barangay Banglay in Lagonglong of being supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA).
The evacuees, over 250 of them, returned to the Lagonglong village on Tuesday after being assured by the capitol that soldiers have already pulled out from their barangay.
The soldier, Pfc. Fermin Lindajay of the 58th Infantry Battalion, accused purok leader Sarisa Acosta and other tribal leaders of being supporters of communist rebels in the area.
Lindajay, who is facing an Army investigation pertaining to complaints that he harassed villagers, denied the accusation that he and other soldiers intimidated villagers and rounded up farmers in Kamansi.
“Akong gihimo sa mga tawo mao lamang ang pag-istorya kung unsa ang insakto para sa ilang kaayuhan. Gihimo lamang nila nga sayop among katuyu-an tungod kay sila supporter sa NPA. Busa mao kini ilang gihimo sa ako, bisan insakto gihimo nila nga mali,” Lindajay said.
He said he and other soldiers merely told villagers that the government wanted to come in and provide them aid for their livelihood.For that, he said, the village leaders fabricated stories about him and made him look like a villain. He said the military had also set up a detachment in Sitio Camansi because of the NPA’s sympathizers in the village. There was nothing wrong about it, he said.
Lindajay said he was a member of the NPA who surrendered, and eventually became an Army soldier. He claimed to be a former rebel organizer, the reason why he knows how the NPA operates in the Lagonglong village.
He said he went back to his village with a mission to talk with his relatives and former NPA comrades with the objective of convincing them to allow the government to help the barangay.
Capt. Jo Patrick Martinez, chief of the Public Affairs Office of the 4th Infantry Division, said the withdrawal of the troops from Kamansi was only “temporary,” adding “it is a national mandate for soldiers to ensure the safe delivery of government services, and protect the communities from the presence of the NPAs.”