Slain students ‘full-time’ rebs
SAN PEDRO CITY—The youngsters slain in what the military said was a clash with soldiers in Batangas province were full-time guerrillas belonging to the New People’s Army (NPA), not new recruits as some officials earlier said.
Maj. Gen. Rhoderick Parayno, head of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, said the killings of 15 supposed members of NPA were results of a “legitimate encounter” between soldiers and guerrillas in the villages of Aga and Kaylaway in Nasugbu, Batangas. Two of the dead rebels were college students Josephine Lapira and Kamil Manangan.
Parayno said the youngsters had been earlier tagged to be NPA recruits on an “immersion” program but corrected that report on Friday.
Lapira, a University of the Philippines (UP) Manila student, had already gone through an immersion program and was a regular member of NPA at the time of her death, according to Parayno.
Parayno said Lapira had told her parents she was in an immersion program to explain her long periods of absences, but was already a full-time guerrilla.
Details of how the rebels found their way into Nasugbu, a resort town, and the clash that followed started trickling in yesterday.
Police said one of two vehicles used by the rebels, a closed delivery van, was believed to had been stolen.
The van, which carried one rebel team including its supposed leader “Maru,” was registered to a trucking company based in General Mariano Alvarez town in Cavite province, according to police.
Senior Supt. Alden Delvo, Batangas police chief, said the provincial police was coordinating with the Highway Patrol Group to get more details about the van, which was reported stolen in Magallanes town, Cavite, on Nov. 28, the same day the rebels clashed with government forces.
Aside from Lapira and Manangan, the other slain rebels were initially identified, through sources, as Glen Mark Aytona, Carl Espinosa Labajata, Julieto Pellazar Jr., Karla Bahasa, Henry delos Reyes, Joshua Hernandez, Evelyn Pagara Manalo, Roberto Dolendon, Alfred Cadag, Anthony Felix and Graciella Pocaldo.
Five of them, who were aboard a jeep, were killed in the initial clash in Aga village. Nine riding in the van were killed in the second clash in the village of Kaylaway a few minutes after the first volley fire.
Police chief Delvo said the van driver, who was still unidentified, had fled.
One of the rebels had been wounded and put under hospital arrest in Batangas City. Police on Friday filed a complaint for illegal possession of firearms and explosives and attempted murder against him.
Maj. Gen. Parayno said 12 assault rifles, an M79 grenade launcher, bullets and communist documents were recovered.
One of the assault rifles, an M16, was registered to an agency in charge of security at a high-end resort in Nasugbu and was stolen during a raid in January at the resort’s security
office by rebels.—WITH A REPORT FROM DELFIN T. MALLARI JR.