NEW People’s Army (NPA) rebels ambushed a town councilor in Negros Oriental on Friday, killing seven people including six policemen, two days after the President cancelled peace talks with the communists.
The Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion deployed troops to respond to the ambush in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental.
Capt. Ruel Llanes, civil military operations chief of the Army’s 303rd Brigade, said seven were killed: six personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) including the Guihulngan town police chief, and one civilian, the driver of Councilor Edison de la Rita.
Llanes said the ambush occurred at around 10 a.m. in Barangay Magsaysay, Guihulngan town. De la Rita was on his way to his office when his vehicle was fired upon by suspected members of the NPA.
De la Rita called on policemen, who were themselves ambushed.
“De la Rita [was]initially reported as abducted, but he managed to hide and went to the police station himself,” he said.
“We are still confirming whether the NPAs are behind this incident, what unit and how many of them,” Llanes added.
The police fatalities were as follows: Supt. Arnel Arpon, chief of the Guihulngan Police Station, Senior Police Officer (SPO) 2 Necasio Tabilon, Police Officer (PO) 3 Jordan Balderas, PO2 Alvin Paul Bulandres, PO2 Alfred Dunque, and PO1 Abines Silvano. Wounded were SPO4 Jerome Delara and PO2 Jorie Maribao.
The military and the police were still confirming the identification of the civilian killed but reports have identified him as Michael Jambalus.
The PNP vowed to go after the communist rebels.
In a statement, PNP spokesman Dionardo Carlos said the PNP “will not stop until the perpetrators are made to answer for the crime.”
“The PNP will support and follow the orders of our President/Commander-in-Chief/Chief Executive to temporarily halt talks,” he said late Friday.