BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The New People’s Army Apolinario Gatmaitan Command justified yesterday the ambush-slay of two Army intelligence operatives on April 3 in Brgy. Yaoyao, Cauayan, Negros Occidental, and insisted that they were “legitimate military targets”.
Ka Juanito Magbanua, spokesperson of the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command, said in radio interviews that the ambush was successfully carried out by the Armando Sumayang Command Jr.
Killed in the ambush were Sgt. Jhoem Meguillo of Zamboanga City, and Cpl. Alaster Balboa of Midsayap, Cotabato, both members of the 15th Infantry Battalion.
The two slain soldiers were also divested of their firearms by the rebel ambushers, estimated at about 30 armed men, according to initial investigations of the Cauayan police.
Magbanua accused the two soldiers to be behind what he claimed as the fake surrender of their comrades and the red-tagging of farmers.
Meanwhile, Cauayan Mayor John Rey Tabujara has joined the Philippine Army in strongly condemning the atrocities perpetrated by the NPA rebels, especially the Black Saturday ambush in his town.
“I am asking the support of all municipalities and barangay officials to stop these terroristic activities of the NPA,” Tabujara said.
Col. Leonardo Peña, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, who supervises the 15th Infantry Battalion stationed in southern Negros, said he condemned the barbaric acts perpetrated by the NPA in their desperation to hamper the peace and progress brought by the presence of Army soldiers in communities. “Their ultimate sacrifice in the name of service to God, to our country, and to our people will not be put in vain, for we will legally seek justice and file appropriate criminal case against the culprits,” Peña said.*