NPA top leader in Davao killed – military
THE military said it has neutralized rebel leader Leonardo Pitao, also known as “Commander Parago,” in an encounter on Sunday afternoon in Pacquibato district in Davao City.
Pitao was killed at around 2:30 p.m. in Barangay (village) Panyalom by a joint operating team from the 6th Scout Ranger company, the 69th Infantry Battalion, intelligence units and infantry units of the 10th Infantry Division.
Maj. Gen. Eduardo Ano, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, said one of two rebels slain in the encounter was positively identified as Pitao.
“This was a series of encounters from two weeks ago, this is the fourth one. Our target was only Commander Parago as we were serving 17 warrants against him,” Ano said.
Pitao is a leader of the New People’s Army’s Pulang Bagani Command in Southern Mindanao.
It may be recalled that in March 2009, Pitao’s daughter, Rebelyn, was abducted and later found dead in Davao.
Killed along with Pitao on Sunday afternoon was a female NPA fighter.
Ano described Pitao’s NPA unit as the toughest in the Davao region, mostly operating in the mountain areas of Davao City and Davao del Norte.
“He is the equivalent of Tirso Alcantara of Luzon, that is his image,” the military official said, referring to the commander of the Regional Operational Command of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee who was arrested in 2011.
Pitao was also behind the 1999 kidnapping of Brig. Gen. Victor Obillo, commander of the 55th Engineering Brigade.
Ano said the NPA leader’s death is the end of the NPA in the Davao region.
“He is somewhat an idol of the NPA here, now that the law has caught up with him, this is a major setback and is going to be the fall of the NPA in the Davao region,” the military official said.
Ano estimated the NPA rebels in the Davao region to be around 700.
Government troops also recovered two M16 rifles and three rifle grenades after the 25 minute firefight with Pitao’s group.
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