The Bilar police and the Philippine Army are not discounting the possibility that New People’s Army (NPA) rebels were behind the killing of a militiaman in the town last week.
According to Sr. Insp. Erenieto Feniza, chief of the Bilar Police Station, they are eyeing multiple angles in the fatal gun attack of Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) member Paulino Banga.
Banga while driving his motorcycle was shot dead by one of three motorcycle-riding suspects who set up an ambush against him along a remote barangay road at the village of Campagao in Bilar on Wednesday.
“Wala na nato gi drop ang possibilities, atong gi tan-aw ug naa ba silay participation,” said Feniza on the possible involvement of the NPA in the fatal gun attack.
According to Feniza, NPA leader Domingo Compoc is a native of Barangay Dagohoy of Bilar which is adjacent to the village where Banga was gunned down.
Earlier reports had indicated that Compoc has been moving across islands in the Visayas after renewed offensives against the rebel group started last year.
However, there have been no direct connections made yet linking Compoc to the ambush.
The left-wing group has also not issued a confirmation claiming that they were behind the ambush, Feniza added.
For his part, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander Col. Ignacio Madriaga said that Banga may have been a victim of a common crime, but also did not discount the NPA’s possible involvement.
“Wala naman kaming dini-discount na possibility, isa din yan sa tinitingnan, everything is being looked up,” said Madriaga. “Ayaw lang naming rush o magmadali sa pagbigay ng statement na i-attribute kaagad to a particular group, hindi naman maganda yun.”
Banga reportedly came from a cockpit arena when he was killed by the assailants. Officials had earlier noted that he may have engaged in conflict due to cockfighting.
Authorities also considered robbery as among possible angles behind the murder.
Based on initial police investigation, one of the three suspects forcibly opened the utility box of Banga’s motorcycle after he was gunned down.
Meanwhile, Madriaga expressed grief over the death of Banga who had served as a CAFGU member for several years. (Allen Doydora)