BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
An alleged leader of the New People’s Army, who was linked to last year’s killing of four policemen in Ayungon, Negros Oriental, died yesterday in a shootout during a joint operation of the Philippine National Police and 15th Infantry Battalion at Km. 109 in Brgy. Dancalan, Ilog, Negros Occidental.
The slain NPA leader was identified by Maj. Cenon Pancito III, Public Affairs Office chief of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, as Mitchel Fat, with aliases of TM, Epi and Lakas, a squad leader of Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda Platoon, Central Negros Front 2, of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros/Cebu/ Bohol/Siquijor.
Pancito said last night that Fat was the leader of the rebel group behind the brutal killing of four policemen in Brgy. Mabato, Ayungon, Negros Oriental in July 18 last year, which responsibility was claimed by the NPA in central Negros.
Capt. Mark Joel Reclamado, Ilog police officer-in-charge, yesterday said that Fat’s cadaver was claimed by his aunt. He has pending arrest warrants for violation of Section 4, in relations to Section 7 of RA 9851, known as the new Philippine Act on Crimes against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and other Crimes against Humanity.
Reclamado said that Fat was killed after he opened fire at police and Army personnel, who retaliated, while they were about to serve the three arrest warrants to him that was issued by Branch 75 of the Bais City Regional Trial Court.
A known High Value Individual personality of the Central Negros Front 2, Pancito said that Fat was declared dead on arrival at the Lorenzo Zayco District Hospital, where he was brought by authorities after the shootout.
Recovered from the slain NPA rebel leader were a .45 caliber pistol with a magazine containing four live ammunition, two fired cartridges of a .45 caliber pistol, a gun holster, a hammock, two magazine pouches, military uniforms, a handheld radio with charger, a Nokia cellular phone, two boxes of acupuncture needles, subversive documents and a brown wallet.
Lt. Col. Erwin Cariño,15IB commander, said that the neutralization of Fat was based on the timely information of the local populace, who reported his presence to authorities.
Cariño described it as another setback to the CPP-NPA-NDF in Negros Island.
Brig. Gen. Noel Baluyan, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, in a statement, lauded the 15IB troops for neutralizing the NPA leader, as he further ordered them to sustain its anti-insurgency efforts.
Baluyan also reiterated his call to the remaining NPA members to return to the folds of the law.*