Colonel Teodoro Cirilo Torralba, Commander of the 902nd Brigade which has jurisdiction over Camarines Sur, said that the shooting attack happened in an isolated village of Villadema in Libmanan town.
“I received an information from a concerned neighbor of the victims that at least five heavily armed men attacked the home of a certain Frederico Vico,55, a copra trader last night. Four people were initially reported dead and one critically wounded,” said Torralba.
Torralba also said that there were reports that there were ‘more casualties’ in the area but he could not readily give the details. He said that he immediately dispatched a platoon of soldiers led by 1st Lieutenant Alden Brinas at around 5:00am to check the incident together with some police investigators.
“There are no accessible roads to this place. My soldiers went there on foot with the police to assess the situation and pursue the assailants,” he added.
At around 10:00am, sources from Mother Seton Hospital in Naga city disclosed that five of the victims were brought to the hospital early in the morning today, February 5.
Four of the victims were pronounced dead on arrival in a hospital in Naga City while one is still in critical condition.
The fatalities were identified as Pedrito Vico,55, his son named Christian, 28, family driver Crispin Gamer,36, and a househelp named Armando Queto, 25. A certain Ronilo De Castro is still fighting for his life as of this time.
Soldiers who scoured the escape route of the attackers found the cadaver of two more victims at around 11:00am.
Grieving relatives claimed that the assailants used the two victims as ‘guide’ during their hasty retreat to the wooded area and they were executed along the way.
Teolo Corral’s cadaver was found at Sitio Sta Cruz, Zone 7 of Villadema village while the body of Fernando Lopez was abandoned in Sitio Magsaysay, Cagawan village.
A relative of Vico who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed that Pedrito, the owner of the flourishing copra business in the village, had been receiving extortion demands from the CPP-NPA-NDF starting last year.
“The first demand was P30,000.00, then it was lowered to P20,000.00. Instead of giving in to the demands of the communist rebels, Pedrito armed himself and recruited some guards,” he said.
He also added that the rebels held Christian at gunpoint when they barged in last night (Friday). Pedrito fought off the attackers using his personal firearm, hitting some of them, forcing the attackers to retreat with their casualties.
Military authorities are in the hot trail for a band of communist rebels who are currently engaged in criminal activities.
“The involvement of some NPA rebels in various crimes is not new to us. Last year, a band of communist rebels shot dead an operator of Sunwest corporation in a robbery-hold-up incident in Guinobatan town in Albay. Due to the lack of popular support, the communist rebels are now heavily engaged in banditry,” said Major Harold M Cabunoc, Spokesperson of the 9th Infantry Division.
Major General Ruperto Pabustan, the Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, has condemned the gruesome massacre of innocent civilians by suspected communist rebels. He has directed the 902nd Brigade to assist the PNP in its investigation to identify the perpetrators and file criminal cases against them.
Major Harold M. Cabunoc (INF) PA, 9th Infantry (Spear) Division's spokesman, speaking on the Libmanan Massacre.