DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines- The leader of the New Peoples Army (NPA) in Negros Oriental is a woman. “Babaye siya (she is a woman),” a high placed intelligence officer told iNews.Ph in an interview here.
The source identified the woman as a certain Jimlan dela Cruz, a resident of one of the towns in the province, the leader of the Mt. Cansermon Command-New Peoples Army (MCC-NPA). Dela Cruz is described as a long time cadre who rose from being a platoon leader to leading the MCC-NPA who owned responsibility for the killing of the four policemen last July 18 in Ayungon town.
Police Regional Office (PRO7) Regional Director Brig. Gen.Debold Sinas quickly clarified however that the spate of the killings can not all be blamed directly to the rebels. One the 17 killed, apart from the 4 cops, only 5, involving three incidents were confirmed to be perpetrated by the government’s enemy.
“As of now we only have three incidents that are confirmed that they are responsible,” Sinas said in a mix of English and Cebuano inside the Camp Francisco Fernandez in Sibulan in a press conference after the command conference of the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NOPPO) which he presided.
As the conference was going on yesterday afternoon, a 17th victim was gunned down in the oval market of Canlaon City. Anaciancino Rosita, a barangay tanod of Barangay Bucalan, Canlaon City was killed past 2pm but Sinas said they are still investigating the incident.
Sinas said the five fatalities which the police could link to the NPA’s are that of Weny Alegre and Felimino Janayan outside a cockpit in Zamboanguita last July 24; Barangay Capt. Romeo Alipan of Buenavista Guihulngan last July 25 and that of Marlon, 31, ang his one-year-old son, Marjun also last July 25 in Barangay San Jose, Santa Catalina.
The others, including that of former Mayor Edsel Enardecido of Ayungon and Canlaon City councilor Ramon Jalandoni and Panubigan Brgy. Captain Ernesto Posadas could be the handiwork of ordinary criminals that posed as NPA’s. The gunmen of Jalandoni and Posadas spray painted in their wall fences the words, “Mabuhay ang NPA”, “Traidor sa NPA”, but Sinas clarified it is not enough to conclude that the NPA’s killed the two.
“We could not, mao lagina we will not give any kuan, kay basigunyamga copycat lang tu. Unless we have evidence and proof we are not giving any conclusion.” Except in Dumaguete City, the rest of the police in the province are on “heightened alert” where duty policemen are in fatigue uniforms. Sinas said the situation in Negros Oriental is still manageable as there are also army troopers in the area.
In select mountain villages, police substations are being mulled to deter any threats. The MCC-NPA admitted in killing Corporal Relebert Beronio, Patrolman Raffy Callo, Patrolman. Roel Cabellon; and Patrolman Marquino de Leon, all members of the 704th Mobile Force Company of the Regional Mobile Force Batallion (RMFB7) whom they blamed to have acted in gathering intel reports against them in Sitio Yamot, Barangay Mabato, Ayungon.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte announced in Candon City, Ilocos Sur recently that he is offering a bounty of P3 million in exchange for the head of the leader of the NPA rebels that killed the four policemen as he aired his anger about the traumatic injuries which the cops sustained before they were killed.
The flag at Camp Fernandez was flown at half-mast to show that NOPPO is mourning for their death. In January this year, MCC-NPA also admitted responsibility in torching several heavy equipments of Pilipinas Eco-Friendly Mining Corp. in Jandalamon, Ayungon purportedly for failing to give revolutionary taxes, a euphemism for “extortion demand”, the military said.
The Ayungon based mining firm is supplying silica for cement companies in Cebu./AAJ