BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The Army claims Communist rebels are behind two sensational cases involving two village heads who were both slain in early morning strikes, both in upland villages here last week as the tiempo suerte or milling season opens early.
As this developed, provincial police chief, Colonel Leo Pamittan ordered the Calatrava police chief to “file an airtight case” against the killers, Camp Montelibano spokesman Judesses Catalogo told DNX.
Army Brigadier General Innocencio Pasaporte told DNX the killing in Calatrava town is already confirmed to have been done by the rebels but the on in Isabela town has yet to be narrowed down by the police as other motives are still present.
Pasaporte, who commands thousands of soldiers under the 303rd Brigade, said they are leaving it to the National Police to probe the incidents that happened only a day away from each other, 24 and 26 August 2022.
Army Colonel J-Jay Javines, who commands the 79th Battalion based in Sagay City, said the wife of Lalong village chief Benjamin Javoc, 54, told them seven armed members of the New People’s Army led by Arnel Tapang, a known squad leader of the rebels, gunned down Javoc in front of his house in the sub-village of Lower, an upland community in Calatrava at least 80 kilometers north of here.
Javines added Tapang even told Javoc’s wife that the village chief was a protector of illegal drugs operations.
They did not offer any evidence.
Javines told DNX Tapang, a native of Bandila village in neighboring Toboso town, heads the remnants of the dismantled Northern Negros Front, a unit of the NPA that has now been reduced to a “handful of hungry, fleeing, disorganized and demoralized fighters,” according to Army officers.
A front, by rebel definition, usually covers at least five towns or cities, an area equivalent to a political district of the government, with at least a platoon or 30 armed NPA regulars.
Catalogo, for his part, said police in Isabela town are still looking for evidence to link their person of interest to the killing of Danilo Dautil, the chief of Cabcab village, around 75 kilometers south of here, who was shot early in the morning of 24 August 2022.
He added Pamittan also reminded chiefs of police stations to strengthen personal and structural security and up intelligence operations in coordination with the Army.