A suspected member of the New People’s Army (NPA) who was killed in an encounter with government soldiers in the hinterlands of Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, on Sunday, January 4, was linked to an ambush of a policeman and other killings.
Randy Tapales, an alleged member of the NPA Special Partisan Unit, died in a clash with 62nd Infantry Battalion soldiers in Sitio Pitik-Pitik, Barangay Luz. The soldiers were conducting security operations following reports of the presence of NPA rebels in the area.
Cpt. Mervin Rosal, civil military operations officer of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, said that the firefight between the government troopers and the rebels lasted for about five minutes. No soldiers were injured in the encounter, he added.
Recovered from the scene were a .357 caliber revolver, .45 caliber pistol, ammunition, and a hand grenade.
The Army linked Tapales to several Guihulngan City killings, including the fatal ambush on Corporal Mark Anthony Quiocson in Barangay Luz on July 1, 2020; Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA) Mico Dinoy, who was also killed in Barangay Luz on January 28; and two swine traders who were killed in Barangay Magsaysay in July 2020.
Two warrants of arrest had been issued against Tapales.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd IB commander, said in a statement that the Army is in control of the situation.
“We assure everyone that despite the pandemic crises, we will not put our guards down and we will continue to go after these NPAs who continue to sow fear in the communities. We will pursue the NPAs to eradicate them in Negros Island,” he added.*