PRESIDENT ROXAS, North Cotabato (PNA) – A suspected high-ranking regional leader and two other sub-commanders of the communist New Peoples’ Army (NPA) operating in North Cotabato were killed in a clash against joint police and military operatives in remote Sitio Matangao, Barangay Sarayan here Monday.
Maj. Judgie Barotas, town police chief, identified the slain suspects as Buenaventura Dawal, executive committee chairman of the NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Command, and his companions Dennis Nogollos and a certain Alambro.
“They all died on the spot,” Barotas said of the suspects who resisted arrest.
Armed with an arrest warrant for murder issued by Judge Ma. Theresa Camannong of the Regional Trial Court Branch 9 in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, joint forces of the police and military swooped down on the suspects’ hideout around 5:30 a.m. in Barangay Sayaran but were met by gunfire.
“They (suspects) fired first and luckily there were no casualties on the government side,” Barotas said.
Military and police records showed that Dawal is also the former secretary of the NPA’s Southern Regional Committee 5 operating in the Davao Region.
Found beside the slain NPA members were an M16 assault rifle with ammunition; a carbine rifle, two .45 caliber pistols, subversive documents, mobile phones, computer gadgets, a digital camera, a flash drive, and SD cards, and two improvised explosive devices.
Three suspected sticks of dried marijuana leaves were also found in the area, according to Barotas.
The operation was a result of information sharing among intelligence units of the military and police with support from the community, Barotas said.
The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
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