New People's Army

NPA owns responsibility for ambush, killing of villagers in Negros Occidental 

Reymund Titong

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NPA owns responsibility for ambush, killing of villagers in Negros Occidental 
Rebels claim to have seized firearms and ammunition from policemen during the August 9 ambush

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – The New People’s Army (NPA) has claimed responsibility for the August 9 ambush that left one killed and three others wounded in Sitio Calanugan, Barangay Minapasok, Calatrava town in Negros Occidental.

Cecil Estrella, spokesperson of the NPA’s Roselyn Jean Pelle Command, said on Sunday, August 13, that they staged the ambush on a patrol vehicle carrying 10 police personnel from the Calatrava Police Station.

Estrella said the rebels seized four assault rifles, ammunition, and a .45 caliber pistol.

The attack killed Corporal Jaime Nuñez and wounded Corporal Dennis Nasis and Captain Jesus Alba, the deputy chief of police of the Calatrava police station.

Police Staff Sergeant Frank Caballero was later reported as another wounded officer. 

Calatrava police chief Major Ronald Santillan said investigators found M-203 cartridges at the crime scene, and he rejected reports about a landmine explosion, as several police survivors had claimed.

According to Captain Judesses Catalogo, spokesperson for the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, the policemen were en route to arrest several fugitives wanted for murder and illegal possession of explosives in Sitio Icogan, Barangay Minapasok, when the fierce encounter took place for about 30 minutes.

Those subject to the arrest warrants were Darry Dayawan and Charry Amacan, among others, who were also identified by state forces as communist guerrillas under the NPA’s Northern Negros Front.

Authorities earlier said the rebel group was dismantled by state forces.

The arrest warrant for murder against Dayawan was issued by Judge Arville Guyod Delgado of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 57 in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, on February 18, 2022. 

Amacan, meanwhile, and several others are wanted for a 2022 illegal possession of explosives case.

Catalogo denied that the policemen were ambushed, asserting that the law enforcers engaged communist rebels. 

Civilian casualties

The NPA also claimed responsibility for the killing of two villagers in Batyogon, a sitio three kilometers from the encounter site, for allegedly serving as military spies.

Estrella said the villagers – Felix Resotay Jr. and his nephew Elesio Resotay – were meted the “death sentence” by the NPA.

“The verdict was promulgated two years ago after a fair and impartial trial but enforced only recently to give ample time [for them] to mend their ways and cease their anti-people counter-revolutionary activities,” Estrella said.

Relatives of the killed civilians told Radyo Bandera-Bacolod criticized the NPA and denied that they were military informants.

Lieutenant Colonel Arnel Calaoagan, commander of the Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion, said killing unarmed civilians constituted a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). 

In Negros Island, communist rebels have a history of targeting civilians accused of being army informants or criminals, a practice strongly condemned by the government and human rights groups. –

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