CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – One person lay dead and another person was wounded in a robbery-hold up staged by NPA bandits in Albay province yesterday (Monday), a military official said.
Lieutenant Colonel John Oberio, Commander of the 2nd Infantry Battalion which has jurisdiction over Albay province, said that 5 NPA bandits belonging to Kilusang Gerilya 78 led by Jerry Abache a.k.a. Ka Josam, flagged down an owner type jeep owned by Sunwest Corporation in Sinungtan village, Guinobatan town at around 12:30pm.
Oberio said that the service vehicle was carrying 7 passengers bound for the ‘GMA highway’ which links Camarines Sur to Daraga town. All of the passengers were operators of the heavy construction equipment used in the implementation of the government’s flagship project.
Quoting the verbal report of one of the survivors, Oberio said that the group was negotiating the uphill rough road near the boundary with Bulo-bulo village on their way to the project site when the bandits suddenly emerged, pointing their M16 rifles at their direction.
Antonio National, the vehicle driver, was forced to stop when the rebels started shooting the tires. The rebels demanded all passengers to disembark and raise their hands.
The rebels kicked the passengers while ordering them to lie in prone position. One of the rebels angrily reprimanded the group for not giving in to their demand of ‘revolutionary tax’ which the bandit group required to all private contractors who are engaged in the government’s development projects.
As the rebels started to frisk for their wallets and personal belongings, Wilfredo Asaytono, 56, panicked and ran for his life, prompting the rebels to spray him with automatic fires, killing him instantly.
About 50m from the scene, Jason Obrego, a motorcycle driver, was hit by stray bullets as he was on his way to Guinobatan town to earn a living. He was lying and bleeding due to his abdominal wound as he watched the crime before his very eyes.
Emptying the wallets and food provisions inside the vehicle, the bandits immediate fled towards the hills, bringing with them at least P5,000.00 owned by the victims.
Oberio promptly dispatched a platoon of soldiers to hunt down the bandits while assisting the retrieval of the victims from the area. Representatives from Sunwest Corporation have claimed the cadaver of Asaytono who is said to be a resident of Manunugot village, Manito town.
Obrego was also brought by responding soldiers to a local hospital in Guinobatan town where he was treated immediately. He is said to be in stable condition.
Oberio has also said that his battalion’s hotline is flooded with messages about the current location of the bandits.
“We have many civilian friends who are pinpointing to their present position. I will immediately launch a manhunt operations to arrest the suspects,” said Oberio.
Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division has called on the local officials and the local people to condemn the killing of Asaytono who is the 24th civilian to be killed by the NPA bandits as of yesterday.
In CY 2010, the NPA bandits have killed 4 soldiers, 1 policeman,8 militiamen and 24 civilians in the rising cases of extra-judicial killings in the Bicol Region.