Amid proposals for local peace talks between the New People's Army and the government, suspected insurgents allegedly shot dead a supposed “intelligence” asset in Barangay Talalak, Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental yesterday morning.
The victim was identified as Junney Cabugnason, about 40 years old, married and a resident of the place, the police said.
An initial police report said that Barangay Talalak chairperson Edmat Bigay recounted that at around 6 a.m. yesterday, while he was at the vicinity of the Avocado Elementary School in the barangay, he heard two gun shots and afterwards saw two persons fire several more shots into the air.
Bigay told police investigators that the unidentified men uttered in the vernacular that they were NPA members and once they were already outside the vicinity of the school, they shouted again in the dialect that they will be returning for more targets.
Cabugnason sustained one gunshot wound to his throat and another to the back of his head that caused his instantaneous death, the police report said.
Cabugnason was the janitor of the school and when the incident happened, he was collecting the items/materials that were used during the school's graduation exercises held Tuesday.
The suspects fled, leaving behind a note although the police report did not mention its contents.
Recovered from the crime scene were one empty shell of .45 caliber pistol and the note, the police report added.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Roderick Garcia, commander of the 79th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army based in Negros Oriental, said he still has to get additional information regarding the incident.
He said he learned the victim was killed for allegedly being a government asset/informant.
He lamented that, if it was the NPA that was responsible for the killing, it is “a pity” that civilians are being targeted.
Garcia had previously said that the NPA problem is now mostly concentrated in northern Negros although just a few of the insurgents are mobile and regularly visit the southern part of the province.
Negros Oriental was earlier declared a “conflict-manageable and development-ready” province by government authorities, with efforts now geared towards providing livelihood and development to formerly insurgency-affected areas, to uplift the lives of residents.*JFP
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