BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The long arm of the law has finally caught up with the elusive top leader of the New People’s Army in Negros Island, Romeo Nanta, who was killed in renewed armed clashes with 94th Infantry Battalion soldiers on October 10 in Sitio Medel, Brgy. Carabalan, Himamaylan City.
Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 3rd Infantry Division commander, yesterday confirmed the death of Nanta, with aliases of Ka Juaning, Jack and Juanito, head of the NPA regional command in Negros Island
The gun battle that resulted in the death of Nanta, who also served as spokesman of the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command, was the fifth encounter to ensue between 94th Infantry Battalion soldiers and NPA rebels since Oct. 6, at the hinterlands of Brgy. Carabalan, Himamaylan City, that has so far claimed the lives of two Army soldiers and injured six others.
Arevalo said the death of Nanta will create a major setback on the terroristic plans and activities of the communist terrorist group in Negros Island.
“Demoralization within the ranks of NPA under the command of Nanta is also expected,” he added.
The encounter between the group of Nanta and 94IB soldiers lasted about 10 minutes, after which his comrades scampered in various directions, leaving behind his cadaver at the encounter site.
Army soldiers also recovered a .45 caliber pistol with a magazine containing six ammunition, a back pack containing personal belongings and a cellular phone.
Nanta was previously arrested in 2011 for murder, frustrated murder, and robbery, among other numerous cases, at a checkpoint in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental. He was later freed from jail after posting bail.
Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, lauded the relentless efforts of 94IB under the command of Lt. Col. Van Donald Almonte in tracking the armed rebels, who splintered into small groups, following a series of encounters on Oct. 6, 7 and 8 in the far flung areas of Brgy. Carabalan, Himamaylan City.
Pasaporte disclosed that Nanta is also directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of many soldiers, policemen and innocent civilians, more than a decade after he jumped bail and returned to the communist terrorist group.
Among them was the ambush of Binalbagan policemen in Negros Occidental early this year, the summary execution of four policemen in Ayungon, Negros Oriental in 2019, as well as the ambush slay of six police personnel, including police chief Supt. Arnel Arpon, in 2017.
Nine persons, including a policeman, also died in an ambush staged by the NPA in Brgy Puso, La Castellana, Negros Occidental, in 2013, police records showed.
Nanta, being a notorious NPA terrorist leader with numerous arrest warrants, makes him the most wanted terrorist in Negros Island, Pasaporte said.
His death would clearly serve a reminder that no one escapes the long arm of the law, he stressed.
It would also serve as justice for innocent civilians tagged as informants and killed to justify their brand of justice, and contribute to the collapse of NPA terrorists in Negros Island, Pasaporte further said.
He added “it would lead to the realization of other NPA members that their only option is to return to the folds of law.”*