The driver of a local government unit rescue vehicle was shot and killed Saturday by four suspected New People’s Army rebels, making him the fifth victim of a shooting incident in Negros Oriental since Thursday last week in Negros Oriental.
The victim identified by the police as Artilano Gomez, 54, succumbed to a bullet wound in the forehead.
Police investigation showed that Gomez was having breakfast at a “karenderya” when the four suspects asked him to come out and gunned him down when he did, in Sitio Panangan, Brgy. Candabong, Manjuyod, Negros Oriental.
Two days earlier, suspected NPA rebels also shot and killed an alleged military informant identified by the police as Rosalina Pagon Elpidal, 49, in Brgy. Napacao, Siaton, Negros Oriental.
The victim was riding a motorcycle driven by her son, Jetro, when they were flagged down by the two armed men. Without any reason, the two suspects shot the victim in the head, causing her death, the police said.
On the same day, three motorcycle riding suspects shot and killed Heide Rio, 60, and a widow, Richard Villalos, 29, and John Anthony Bormelado, 17, in Brgy. Banga, Bayawan, Negros Oriental.
The three victims, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds, were declared dead on arrival at the Bayawan District Hospital, a report of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, said.
Police investigations showed that the three victims were on their way home to Sitio Cabcabon in the barangay, when they were followed and shot from behind by the gunmen, who were also riding on a motorcycle.
As they were lying on the road, the two gunmen disembarked from their motorcycle and shot them again several times, apparently to ensure their deaths, before fleeing, the police said.
Recovered from the scene of incident were nine empty cartridges of a .45 caliber pistol, a bag containing two cellular phones, and P900 in cash, as well as assorted documents and the XR 125 motorcycle of the victims.
Lt. Col. Randy Pagunuran, 94th Infantry Battalion commander, condemned the killings perpetrated by the NPA, who, he said, always claim to be protectors of the people, but do exactly the opposite.
Pagunuran said Gomez, who is the father of seven children, is a public servant, being the driver of the rescue vehicle of the Manjuyod municipal government, who dedicated his life to serving the community, but the NPA took his life without any apparent reason.
The killing spree in Negros Oriental in July, that claimed the lives of more than 20 persons, led to the relief of its provincial police chief, and the creation of the anti-insurgency task force to address the problem in the province.*
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