A Philippine Army soldier and two suspected hit squad members of the New People’s Army were killed in an encounter at around 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Sitio Natay, Barangay Bucalan in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental.
Capt. Anecito Naz of the 302nd Infantry Brigade based in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental, identified the fatalities as Private First Class Edmund Prieto, who was assigned to the 11th Infantry Battalion of the PA based in Guihulngan City; and the two suspected rebels as Argie Villasan and Elmer Canete.
The NPA SPARU members belonged to Platoon Budlas of Larangan Guerilla 1 of the Komiteng Rehiyon Negros, he added.
Initial investigation showed that at least four men, believed to be members of the NPA Special Partisan Armed Regional Unit, had been were monitored in the vicinity of Natay.
Prieto and his troops from the Alpha Company of the 12th CAFGU were dispatched to verify the report and were approaching the group, when the suspected rebels opened fire at them.
Prieto died on the spot, while Villasan and Canete succumbed to gun wounds sustained when a firefight erupted. Authorities recovered the bodies of the two rebels as well as two.45 caliber handguns, four magazines, 23 rounds of live ammunition and a fragmentation grenade, Naz said.
A suspected NPA member, Ronnel Josalita, who was reportedly captured, identified the two slain rebels, Naz added.*JFP