BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The search for the missing member of the New People’s Army ended on Monday, after his body was found in a shallow grave in Sitio Aguntilang 3, Brgy. Riverside, Isabela, Negros Occidental.
The victim was identified by the Philippine Army as Randy Garsola, a member of the Sentro De Grabidad Platoon of the Central Negros 1 Front under the supervision of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros/Cebu/Bohol/ Siquijor.
Col. Mike Samson, officer-in-charge of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, said yesterday that Garsola was killed in 2018 by his former comrades, under the command of Adidas Acero, alias Bato, after they learned of his plans to surrender.
A former rebel, who had participated in the burial of Garsola and who later surrendered to the 62IB, served as a guide to the Army, policemen and members of the PNP SOCO, in the exhumation of the victim.
Samson said the NPA told the family of Garsola that he went to Cebu, to look for a job. But the truth is, he was killed and buried by his former comrades in October 2018, he added, based on the testimony of the former rebel.
Acero and eight other suspected NPA members were arrested by Army soldiers in Brgy. Buenavista, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, on Sept. 19.
Samson said the Garsola family signified their intention to press murder charges against Acero, who was also linked to the ambush-slay of former Guihulngan City police chief, Supt. Arnel Arpon, and five of his men, as well as Army Cpl. Mark Quiocson, a member of the 62nd Infantry Battalion.
“This inhuman act proves how barbaric the NPA is as an organization. Their noisy claim as human rights defender is a total opposite to their true colors,” Maj. Cenon Pancito, 3rd Infantry Division spokesman, said. The barangay council of Riverside, led by Gerry Flores and Rodney Palohinog, as well as Winy Garsola, father of the victim, witnessed the exhumation, with the SOCO and 62IB operatives assisted by the Isabela Police Station and troopers of the 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company.*