High-ranking NPA leaders slain

HINABANGAN, Samar — Two individuals believed to be high-ranking leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed during an encounter with government troops in Barangay Hilumot, San Jose de Buan in Samar.

Reports from the Philippine Army’s 801st Infantry Brigade based here disclosed that combat troops from the 87th Infantry (Hinirang) Battalion — beefed up with policemen from the 1st and 2nd Samar Provincial Mobile Force Company — figured in a 10-minute firefight with six members of NPA while government forces were en route to respond to tips about the presence of armed men in the area.

Lt. Colonel Luzelito Q. Betinol, commanding officer of the 87th IB said that the composite team of Army and police were fired upon by the communist rebels, prompting the military forces to retaliate.

The killed insurgents were identified as Rodrigo Mejica Lorezo alias Akag, commanding officer of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC) of the NPA and Delia Rosco Rotalano alias Mema, a staff of the EVRPC.

Betinol said the two fatalities were left behind by their fleeing companions during the skirmish. There is no reported casualty in the government troops while other casualties were inflicted on the other side.

The government troops recovered one M16 A1 ELISCO rifle, one calibre 45 pistol, one laptop bag containing subversive documents with high intelligence value, one back pack containing personal belongings, one bandolier and three long steel magazines.

Betinol said that immediately after the incident, he requested for personnel from Scene of the Crime Operatives to process the cadavers and coordinate the municipal mayor for the burial.

San Jose de Buan Mayor Joaquin Elizalde arranged for the burial of the communist leaders at the town’s public cemetery after a solemn Mass.

Betinol called on the wounded communist rebels to surrender so they could be brought to a health facility for treatment.

Col. Lenart R Lelina, commander of 801st Infantry Brigade, congratulated the soldiers for the accomplishment.

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