Piston denies former exec involved in extortion
By Dennis Carcamo Home Updated May 09, 2012 10:30 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Militant transport group Piston on Wednesday said that the military's statement that a former Piston official was involved in extortion activities when killed during a clash with soldiers in Sorsogon is a mere black propaganda.
George San Mateo, Piston national president, also confirmed that Joel Ascutia, a former regional president of Condor-Piston, joined the New People's Army.
"We respect and admire him sa pinili nyang arena to pusue his principles," San Mateo said in a text message.
He denied the accusation of the military that Ascutia was involved in extortion.
"Hindi po kami naniniwala na magagawa ni Joel yun. He is a principled man...Black propaganda iyan ng military para siraan ang principled record ni Joel bilang transport leader and activist," San Mateo said.
He said that so-called military death squads were out to assassinate Ascutia in Daraga, Albay when he was still the Condor-Piston Bicol regional president at the height of the nationwide strike on July 13, 2009.
"Joel was one of the most steadfast and principled leaders of Piston in Bicol and in the whole country until his resignation last March 2011," San Mateo added.
The military reported yesterday that Ascutia was killed in a firefight along with two other communist rebels who were purportedly engaged in extortion in a remote village in Donsol, Sorsogon.