By: Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – The spokesperson of the New People’s Army’s (NPA) Apolinario Gatmaitan Command on July 31, 2019 denied responsibility in the spate of killings in Negros Oriental that included a former mayor and an incumbent councilor of Canlaon City.
In a phone interview with Daily Guardian, Ka Ann Jacinto said the victims are not military targets of the NPA.
Jacinto even condemned the series of killings which the rebels believe to be part of the government’s military offensive.
“Kinokondena ng NPA ang sunod-sunod na patayan sa Negros Oriental. Sa pagkakaalam ng NPA, ito ay bahagi pa ng Operation Sauron at kasinungalingan ang pahayag ni Gen. (Benedict) Arevalo na yung mga biktima ang responsible ay ang mga NPA,” she added.
Police records showed that the fatalities included Canlaon City Councilor Ramon Jalandoni who was gunned down inside his house by about 20 persons armed with long firearms.
The armed men left on board a white van. The assailants also spray painted the words “Mabuhay CPP-NPA” on Jalandoni’s car.
Jacinto said the NPA has nothing to do with the death of Jalandoni because he is a known supporter of their cause and the struggles of farmers.
Also killed by unidentified armed men was Panubigan village chief Ernesto Posadas, 71.
The assailants also sprayed painted the words “Traidor sa NPA” and “Mabuhay ang NPA” on the victim’s house.
They escaped on board a white van. No other injuries were reported.
In Ayungon town, former town Mayor Edsel Enardecido, 60 and his cousin Leo, 45, both of Barangay Tampocon 1, were killed by unidentified armed persons at the former’s residence two hours after the Canlaon incident.
The series of killings came after the ambush slay of four intelligence police operatives of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) – 7 in Ayungon town on July 18.
Five days later, lawyer Anthony Trinidad was killed by unidentified motorcycle-riding assailants in Guihulngan City on July 23. It also resulted in the injuries of his wife.
The following day, rebel returnee Weny Alegre; and Felimino Janayan, president of United Calango Farmer Association (UCFA) were gunned down near a cockpit in Zamboanguita town on July 24 by four unidentified men on two motorcycles.
Also killed that day at his house in Dumaguete City was Yngwie Malmstien Fabugais.
The most number of killings were recorded on July 25, with seven fatalities, including a child.
The killings did not spare Arthur Cordevilla Bayawa, principal of Science High School, and his sister Ardale Cordevilla Bayawa, chief of the Curriculum Implementation Division (CID) of DepEd in in Guihulngan City, and Buenavista village chief Romeo Arbole Alipan.
It was followed by another shooting incident in Siaton town, killing a certain Raklin Astorias.
In Ayungon town, Reden Eleuterio was also gunned down. He was the cousin of Mabato village chief who committed suicide, following the ambush of four cops in the town last week.
On Thursday night, a man and his child were also killed while his wife and another child were injured in another shooting incident in Sta. Catalina town.
The next day, a certain Fedirico Sabejon was also killed in Siaton town.
NOT NPA’S STYLE
Jacinto said it is not a trademark of the NPA to spray their slogans on walls and cars.
Jacinto said Enardecido is an anti-mining advocate.
She added that if ever the NPA conduct military operations, they issue press statements.
Jacinto also denied that the four policemen who were reportedly executed by their group were tortured before they were killed.
“Hindi totoo nga binugbog sila or tinali-an, wala po yan sa discipline at rules and regulations ng NPA,” she said.
The rebel spokesperson also said that they do not favor localized peace talks and will not join such initiatives.
She said that problem of insurgency is a national concern, adding that “hindi pumapasok ang NPA sa localized peace talks.”