AFP intel chief sacked over 'erroneous list' of alleged NPA members killed by military

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 28) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence was relieved from his post following the publication of a list of people tagged as NPA members and killed by the military.

"I am relieving MGen Alex Luna from his post as Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, J2, effective today (28 Jan 2021)," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.

Lorenzana said the publication of the list, which he called "erroneous," was unforgivable.

"The publication of an erroneous list, originating from his office OJ2, of alleged NPA killed by the military is an unforgivable lapse. His negligence only shows a lackadaisical attitude towards his job resulting to confusion and damage to reputation. We do not take these offenses lightly and I want to hold the people involved accountable," Lorenzana added.

Luna has yet to issue a statement on the matter.

In a message to CNN Philippines, Lorenzana said the language used in his message regarding Luna's relief was needed to make sure the organization took their jobs seriously.

"There is an investigation going on but I based my decision under the principle of command responsibility: a commander is responsible for whatever his unit does or fails to do. Alam nila lahat ito [They all know this]," he said.

Lorenzana said Luna will be placed under the office of the AFP Chief of Staff.

The AFP Information Exchange recently posted on its page a list of University of the Philippines students allegedly captured and killed after joining the communist group. The post went viral not just on Facebook, but also in other social media platforms. However, it was taken down following a backlash.

The AFP apologized to UP Alumni who were included in a list of alleged New People's Army recruits. 

The apology came after Lorenzana acknowledged the mistake committed by the military, describing it as an "unpardonable gaffe."

The Defense chief asked UP to help the government put an end to the alleged communist recruitment activities on its campuses, a claim that the university maintained lacks factual evidence.

RELATED: UP accord terminated to protect Filipinos vs 'enemies of the state' Lorenzana

Lorenzana said his decision to unilaterally terminate the DND's deal with UP is a "fulfillment of a patriotic duty," repeating his earlier statement that the move is meant to protect the youth from what he called enemies of the state. In a letter made public last week, he informed UP President Danilo Concepcion that the UP-DND accord, which bars the unauthorized entry of state forces in UP campuses, was abrogated as of Jan. 15.