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Army: One of slain alleged rebels in Batangas clash a UP student

Firearms, still stained with blood of the slain rebels, recovered from the clash site in Nasugbu, Batangas, were put on display for the public to see by the police. Photo by Marrah Erika Rabe / Inquirer Southern Luzon

BATANGAS CITY—One of the five female rebels who died in the Batangas encounter was a student of the University of the Philippines (UP), the military and police said on Wednesday.

Major Gen. Rhoderick Parayno, commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, identified the slain suspected rebel as Josephine Santiago Lapira, 22, from Marikina City.

Lapira, according to army and police officials, died while being treated in a hospital. An earlier report identified Lapira as Ella Rodriguez, the name authorities believed she used as an alias.

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READ: Army troops kill 14 suspected NPA rebels in Batangas clash

“Yes, we received information that she was from UP (University of the Philippines). I’m just not sure which (campus),” said Police Sr. Supt. Alden Delvo, Batangas provincial director.

A relative of Lapera confirmed to the Inquirer that she was from UP Manila.

Lapera was the 15th fatality in the encounter between New People’s Army rebels and the Philippine Air Force in Nasugbu Batangas on Tuesday evening.

Fourteen rebels were killed in the clash while two Air Force officials were wounded. Of the 15, five of them were female, Delvo said.

Meanwhile, another suspected rebel, Victoriano Almario, is being treated at the Medical Center Western Batangas in Balayan town.

Almario reportedly drove the jeepney, one of the two vehicles, that ferried the rebels.

The bodies of 14 fatalities are currently at the St. Peter’s funeral home in Nasugbu. Their identities were not immediately available as relatives have yet to claim the cadavers. /jpv

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