One of ten heavily armed suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who emerged in a remote village in Bilar town gunned down on Sunday night a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU), the civilian paramilitary unit of the Army, police said.
Bilar police chief Lieutenant Ramon Rulona identified the fatality as Crisanto Dela Cruz, 54, who was part of intelligence operations of state forces. He died on the spot near a cockpit arena in Barangay Zamora after sustaining gunshot wounds in the head and chest.
“Base sa among intel, among investigation ug mga witnesses, confirmed g’yud na CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) group g’yud,” said Rulona.
According to Rulona, only one gunman shot Dela Cruz with a .45 caliber pistol while the others who were clothed in fatigues paired with other random clothing such as shorts and plain sweat shirts converged at the crime scene and fired their weapons at an upward direction.
“Ang una mi tira naka purely plain clothes unya pagkatumba sa biktima dayon diha nay nanggawas na nanggida og long arms matud pa sa nakakita unya ang attire naka shorts, naka bandolier unya dunay mga naka camoflauge sa ubos unja ang taas itom ug green na sweat shirt,” he said.
The suspected rebels then fled towards a forested area after indiscriminately firing their weapons.
Responding police meanwhile found spent shells fired from an AK 47 and .45 caliber pistol at the crime scene.
According to Rulona, Dela Cruz’s murder was likely work-related considering that he was a militiaman who could have been identified by the suspects as an intelligence operative.
“Tig gamiton ni siya [Dela Cruz] sa mga awtordiad isip mag monitor unya di ni siya mag-uniporme ba,” he said.
Dela Cruz had also earlier reported to authorities that he was receiving death threats. His live-in partner who police did not identify also confirmed the purported threats.
In March 2018, suspected NPA rebels ambushed Paulino Banga, also a CAFGU member, along the Campagao-Dagohoy Barangay Road in Bilar town.
Banga was killed during the attack.
Rulona said that authorities who investigated the case later gathered intelligence reports indicating that the suspects were after both Banga and Dela Cruz, but had only located the former. (A. Doydora)