ZAMBOANGA CITY: Suspected members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) shot dead a policeman on his way to report for duty on Thursday in Tupi, South Cotabato.
Police Officer 2 Charlie Liba was traveling on a motorcycle and heading to the police regional office when two gunmen drove by his side and fired shots at him, killing him on the spot.
The assailants escaped after taking Liba’s gun.
No individual or group claimed responsibility for the killing but initial police report suggested it was an NPA hit.
It was unknown how the armed men managed to pass through military and police checkpoints especially that the region is still under martial law.
Also recently, gunmen also killed Corporal Rhuphel Lihay-lihay, who just returned home to Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur province, after battling the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group for five months in Marawi City.
Lihay-lihay, 39, a member of the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division based in Zamboanga del Sur, was playing billiard with friends when one of two gunmen shot him several times.
The attackers, also believed to be NPA rebels, fled on a motorcycle after the shooting.
The NPA is actively operating in the province, about 267 kilometers from Zamboanga City.
President Rodrigo Duterte has suspended peace talks with the communist rebels after they refused to sign a ceasefire agreement but communist leaders accused the tough-talking Duterte of reneging on his promise to free over 500 political detainees, mostly NPA leaders, jailed across the country.