Renewed armed clashes between government troopers and suspected New People's Army rebels claimed the life of another Army soldier and casued injuries to two others, while three suspected rebels were captured Saturday in Brgy. Mabini, Escalante City, Negros Occidental.
2Lt. Ma. Revekka Knothess Roperos, 303rd Infantry Brigade Public Information Officer, yesterday said the 30 NPA rebels encountered by a platoon-sized unit of the 62nd Infantry Battalion Alpha Company are believed to responsible for the deaths of two agrarian reform beneficiaries on May 22 in Brgy. General Luna, Sagay City.
The encounter, which lasted for about 20 minutes, claimed the life of Sgt. Isidro Padilla, 35, of Brgy. Ma-ao, Bago City, and caused injuries to two other members of the 62IB Alpha Company.
The fleeing rebels left behind a rifle grenade, ammunition for a M-203 grenade launcher, assorted personal belongings, and food at the encounter site recovered by pursuing Army soldiers, Roperos said.
Citing reports of civilians, Roperos added that many rebels were also reported injured.
Supt. Leonardo Borromeo, Escalante City police officer-in-charge, confirmed yesterday that three suspected NPA rebels, who were found and arrested at the encounter site, were turned over to them by the Philippine Army.
“We will ensure that justice is served upon those lawless elements,” Lt. Col. Arnel Cabugon, 62IB commander, said, apparently referring to the killing of two civilians during a raid at bunker houses of the agrarian reform beneficaries in Sagay City, last week.
In an unexpected twist of events, Senior Supt. William Señoron, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, said yesterday that the Philippine Army is no longer interested to press charges for homicide against the three arrested rebel suspects.
This will pave the way for the release of the arrested suspects as soon as possible, after the lapse of the reglamentary period of detention today, Señoron added.
The Regional Public Safety Battalion 18 and the Negros Occidental Police Public Safety Company are joining the 62IB in the pursuit operations against the fleeing rebels.
Within this month alone, four members of the 62IB have died in ambush, liquidation and encounters with NPA rebels in Toboso and Escalante City.
Col. Francisco Delfin, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said he has already alerted the Army medical team to assist those wounded NPA members, who may seek medical assistance.
Cabugon said the encounter was an offshoot of their pursuit operations, in tandem with the PNP, against those responsible for the killing of two civilians.
The NPA Roselyn Pelle Command had claimed responsibility for the raid of what it claimed to be a military detachment in Brgy. General Luna, Sagay City, and the killing of two Special Cafgu Active Auxilliary men, that was debunked by the police and the military.*GPB
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