BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
An alleged hitman of the New People’s Army linked to the ambush of an Army soldier, a government militiaman, and two civilians, was killed Sunday night in an encounter with the 62nd Infantry Battalion soldiers in Sitio Pitik-Pitik, Brgy. Luz, Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental.
The slain rebel was identified by Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, as Randy Tapales, who was facing murder charges for the death of Army Cpl. Anthony Quiocson, a member of the 62IB, on July 1 last year, in the barangay.
Pasaporte said the firefight between the 62IB soldiers and the group of armed rebels, believed to be members of the NPA Special Partisan Unit and Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda Platoon of the Central Negros 1, lasted for about five minutes.
Aside from the cadaver of Tapales, soldiers later recovered a fragmentation grenade, a .45 caliber pistol with three magazines containing 25 ammunitions, and a 357 caliber revolver with four ammunitions at the encounter site.
Lt. Col. Melvin Flores, 62IB commander, said yesterday that Tapales had another pending arrest warrant for murder for the liquidation of CAFGU member Mico Dinoy, also in the barangay, on Jan. 28 this year, and the killing of two civilians he identified as Jemer Pondador and Romeo Dunggo-an, in Sitio Mandi-e, Brgy. Magsaysay, Guihulngan City, in July 21 last year.
Flores tagged Tapales as a member of the NPA Special Partisan Unit of the Central Negros Front 1. No casualty was reported on the government side during the encounter Sunday.
Flores said another life was wasted due to the deceptions and lies of the NPA. However, justice was also served to the families of the victims of Tapales and his comrades, he added.
He appealed to the NPA remnants to abandon the armed struggle.
“Embrace the programs offered by our government and live peacefully with your families or you will face a similar fate,” Flores added.*