By Joey Natividad
SORSOGON CITY (BicolToday.com/09-May-2012) – Three (3) New People’s Army guerrillas were killed after a platoon of government soldiers of the 31st IBPA from the Bayasong Detachment fought the NPA team on Tuesday morning at Pinamanaan village, Donsol, Sorsogon. Among those killed was a militant leader-organizer of the biggest transport group in the Bicol Region.
Army Colonel Felix Castro, Jr., 903rd brigade commander, said government troops recovered 1 armalite rifle, one 9mm pistol, and assorted subversive documents from the dead NPAs, after engaging some 15 rebels in the village. A platoon of soldiers assaulted the area being used as rebels’ encampment.
Meanwhile, the NPA group in Sorsogon issued a statement Tuesday night, naming those killed in the firefight were Christian “Ka Richard” Llagas, 19, of Bautista village, Jovellar town; Leopoldo “Ka Jig” Nebres, 43, of Sinagaran village, Jovellar town; and Joel “Ka Pepe” Ascutia of Albay.
The Sorsogon-based NPA Celso Minguez Command confirmed that the slain guerrilla Joel “Ka Pepe” Ascutia was a former transport activist-leader who later joined the NPA after he was marked for liquidation by military death squads in Albay province.
In July 13, 2009, Ascutia escaped death when two gunmen on motorcycles tried to kill him in Daraga, Albay, that time when he was active organizing transport strikes.
Samuel Guererro, spokesman of Sorsogon NPA, said in a statement that Ascutia was the president of the Concerned Drivers and Operators – Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (CONDOR-PISTON) – Bikol since 2005. He was then active in organizing transport strikes and consolidating transport organizations and unions.
In a related development, Army Colonel Castro said he will coordinate with the Philippine National Police to investigate farther on how the former transport leader was linked deeply with the rebel groups, and if the transport organization has close associations with the rebels.
CONDOR-PISTON is the largest and most organized transport groups in the Bicol Region, and has been involved in series of strikes against oil-price hikes and, in sympathetic protest actions with militant labor sectors.
In the statement, the Sorsogon NPA admitted that Ascutia later joined the rebel movement after he was subjected to series of harassment from the military when he was active leader in the transport movement.
The slain transport leader was active in peasants and grassroots organizing in the NPA base areas, said Guererro in the statement. [BicolToday.com]
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