Rebel-returnee, Epitacio Ramirez known as Kumander Vargas in his heyday, survived an ambush while the police continued investigating on the motive of the shooting incident.
Based on initial investigation, the 74-year-old Ramirez was on the backseat of a motorcycle driven by his grandson at around 5 a.m. on April 28 along the boundary between barangays Quezon and Cabacnitan in the town of Batuan when a group of men shot him.
The assailants waylaid the victim and his grandson and immediately shot several times towards him, hitting him on the waist and the wound went through the other side of the body.
Ramirez was rushed to the nearest hospital in the town of Carmen for immediate medical treatment, but was transferred to a hospital in Tagbilaran City for x-ray.
His return to the folds of law hugged the headlines in December 2002.
Ramirez later led other rebel-returnees who benefited from government programs on reintegration.
He was among the 14 rebel-returnees who had reintegrated with 18 informal settlers and 10 non-rebel returnees who received financial assistance in 2012 from the administration of Gov. Edgar Chatto and new community in the town of Danao during the administration of the late former governor Erico Aumentado over five years ago.
It was Aumentadoâ€”during his stint as vice governorâ€”that facilitated the surrender of Ramirez.
Chatto sustained the peace for development program extended to the rebel-returnees, in partnership with the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process (OPAPP).
Ramirez used to be the top leader of the rebels in the 1980s, but had been given the change to start a new life and had even been thankful to the government for the assistance.
He had been entrusted the leadership of rebel returnees called Kauban sa Reporma (KRs) who had been given a community to develop in a 50-hectare Kalayaan Resettlement Center in barangay Remedios, Danao.