BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
A suspected leader of the New People’s Army was killed in another gun battle with Army soldiers on September 7 in Sitio Manlibod, Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.
Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, yesterday identified the slain rebel leader as Greg Cantila, head of the Section Guerilla Unit of Central Negros (Front 1), and a member of the NPA Special Partisan Unit liquidation squad.
Pasaporte disclosed that about eight NPA members were encountered by patrolling soldiers of the 62nd Infantry Battalion who were responding to reports of civilians on the presence of armed men in their community.
Pasaporte said the gun battle lasted about five minutes, after which the rebels scampered in various directions, leaving behind their slain comrade at the encounter site.
Army soldiers scouring the encounter site also recovered a hand grenade, a caliber .45 pistol with two magazines containing ammunition, caliber .38 ammunition, binoculars and assorted personal belongings.
Pasaporte reported that the gun battle ensued after the Army soldiers were fired upon by rebels, as they approached their targeted area of operations.
No casualty was reported on the government side.
Pasaporte said he believes that the armed rebels were the same group encountered by 62IB soldiers on August 16 and 17 in Sitio Cambairan of the barangay, that also resulted in the recovery of a .357 Magnum revolver with ammunition and personal belongings.
Four other suspected NPA rebels died in separate encounters last month with 62nd and 94IB soldiers in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental, and Brgy. Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, the military added.
The CN1, also known as the Leonardo Panaligan Command, has issued a statement denying the occurrence of an encounter in Brgy, Trinidad, Guihulngan City, alleging that it was fake news, insisting that there was no NPA unit operating in the area at the time of incident.*