SORSOGON CITY – The encounter between police and rebels on April 1, this year, in Barangay Lajong, Juban, this province, where an alleged NPA fighter was killed, was refuted by the NPA command based in this province, saying “the alleged NPA fighter named by police as Michael Esmer” was actually a civilian from Barangay Caditaan, Magallanes, same province.
According to NPA Celso Minguez Command (NPA-CMC), Esmer was salvaged by people inside a SUV which was being followed by a police mobile on April 1 along Sitio Sigad, Barangay Lajong.
According to witnesses, Esmer came out from the SUV, then he was shot several times, and when he died, the police mobile picked up his lifeless body.
But, a police report has come out a different story. According to official police version, “Government troops composed of operatives from 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company, Provincial Intelligence Branch of SORPPO, Juban MPS, Regional Intelligence Unit 5, 96 MICO, Intel Operatives of 31st IB PA, 504th Coy, RMFB and Regional Mobile Force Batallion 5, while conducting strike operation encountered an undetermined number of armed men believed to be NPA rebels.”
According to Police Major Pedro Jimenez, Juban police chief, in his report to Police Colonel Marlon C. Tejada, Sorsogon Provincial, “the troops were in Brgy. Lajong, Juban, Sorsogon when they encountered an undetermined number of armed men believed to be members of the Communist Terrorist Group at about 10:45 PM of April 1, 2019.”
“Following the encounter which lasted for about 5 minutes, the troops were able to seize firearms with ammunition, different IDs and personal belongings left behind by the fleeing enemies. There was no reported casualty on the government side while one (1) enemy was killed who was identified based on the recovered ID as Michael Esmer y Cabiles a.k.a. Jobert/Jack/Mike. Remains of the enemy was brought to Ronela Funeral Parlor in Casiguran, Sorsogon.”
According to the NPA group, there was no encounter between its units and police/military troops in the vicinity on that day.
“It was senseless murder (salvaging) done on a civilian by government troops,” the NPA said, in a statement released in the Internet.
According to the rebels, based on their investigation, Esmer of Caditaan, Magallanes, told his parents on March 29 that he was going somewhere on board his motorcycle.
He was last seen on April 1, when he came out from a white SUV followed by a police mobile at about 8:00 in the evening. There, he was shot several times by men inside the SUV, then his lifeless body was picked up by the police vehicle.
Later, a police report said he was a rebel killed in an encounter. [BicolToday.com]