Sunday, May 15, 2011

Eight ‘Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan” killed on Friday the 13th shoot-out in Nueva Ecija: NPA claimed-the deads are criminals not rebels

RIZAL, Nueva Ecija, May 16, 2011-Eight members of the break-away group of the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (HMB) were intercepted by authorities at 8 in the morning  in a checkpoint who were about to pull off another heist were killed in this town last Friday the 13th.

Supt. Edgar Alan Okubo, chief of the provincial public safety company, identified the three of the suspects as Ka Caesar, Ka Gerry and Ka Ricky who died on-the-spot from multiple gunshot wounds.

The encounter sprung at Sitio Gulod, Barangay Poblacion West here when operating units of the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office (NEPPO) under provincial director Senior Supt. Roberto Aliggayu and the 702nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army led by brigade commander, Col. Felicito Virgilio Trinidad, flagged down the suspects who were traveling on board two vehicles at a checkpoint.

Authorities said that the government troop approached the HMB group to stop but they did not. Instead of stopping, the suspects opened fire, triggering the exchange of burst on both side.

The NEPPO operatives were reinforced by the provincial public safety company under Okubo, the provincial special reaction team under Senior Joseph Sta. Cruz and the provincial intelligence bureau under Supt. Ricardo Villanueva. They were joined by operatives of the 48th Infantry Battalion of Lt. Col. Kurt Decapia and the 81st IB under operations officer Capt. Elmer Salvador.

Trinidad said that the suspects were planning to stage another robbery-holdup in San Jose City, targeting the payroll money of a construction company based in Aurora when spotted by the government troops, resulting in a five-minute firefight. No one was killed on the government side although the windshield of the Isuzu Elf of the 81st IB was smashed in the exchange of gunfire.

“It was Friday the 13th really on their case,” Trinidad said, saying that there are intelligence reports that the group members belong to a break-away faction of the HMB, the forerunner of the communist New People’s Army. He said they are still checking reports that the group, which is operating in Pampanga and Nueva Ecija, is led allegedly by Bon Alejandrino, who ran but lost in the mayoral elections in Arayat, Pampanga a few years back.

“The operation was the result of a two-week intelligence build-up by the Army and the police’s handling of the checkpoints,” Trinidad said, explaining that the group is also a notorious holdupper operating here in Central Luzon.

“The government recovered five caliber 38 revolvers, one caliber 9mm pistol, two hand grenades, one dark green Toyota Corolla with license plate UGN-659, one silver Mitsubishi Lancer with license plate TNN-891 and live and spent shells for caliber 38 and 9mm in the encountered site,” Trinidad said.

Meanwhile, Alexander Guerrero Command (AGC) of the New People’s Army in Nueva Ecija said that the eight died in the recent encounter were members of a criminal syndicate and not of any rebel faction, saying that they belong to the Vigilante Group, a dreaded syndicate involved in the various cases of gun-for-hire, extortion and other crimes in the province and other parts in central Luzon.

In a statement released by AGC, “It could have been a case of summary execution like what happened to the rubout of 11 Kuratong Baleleng members who were suspected to the Kidnap-for-ransom syndicate several years ago." (Jason de Asis)


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