Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr., chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), condemned Thursday, Aug. 12, the New People’s Army (NPA) for the brutal execution of a Philippine Army (PA) peace and development officer in Tapaz, Capiz.
Corporal Frederic Villasis, 33, of the 12th Infantry Battalion, and team leader of the Army’s Community Support Program (CSP) unit in Capiz, was shot dead by suspected NPA rebels while his hands were tied last Wednesday, Aug. 11, in Sitio Owa, Barangay Lahug.
The killing happened a day before the celebration of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Day on Thursday.
“The cold-blooded murder of Corporal Frederic Villasis, who was deployed for Community Support Program in the area, is a clear manifestation of the NPA’s anti-people and anti-development ways that are worthy of the Filipino’s condemnation,” Faustino said.
According to initial police report, Villasis was traveling on a motorcycle en route to the municipal hall when he was waylaid by a group of suspected communist rebels in Sitio Owa.
Villasis, who was acompanied by Brgy. Lahug Councilors Analyn Giganto and Estong Sumaria on a separate motorcycle, was supposed to follow up the development of a water supply project and other development programs in the village when the incident happened, police said.
An undetermined number of armed men ambushed the victims, ordered Villasis to disembark from his motorcycle as they tied his hands, and shot him thrice in the back of his head while the village officials were made to lie on the ground. Residents told the military that around 40 NPAs were operating in the village.
Giganto and Sumaria were eventually freed by the rebels and reported the incident to the authorities, triggering a manhunt operation.
Faustino also mobilized the 12th IB to hunt down the suspects behind the killing of their comrade.
“The AFP will exhaust all available resources to achieve justice for our comrade and put an end to the decades-old problem of armed conflict so that our nation may enjoy genuine peace and development,” he said.
The AFP chief also sent condolences to Villasis’ wife and two children even as he promised to extend all the necessary assistance to them since Villasis was killed while in the line of duty.