From InterAksyon (Jul 6): Bicol rebel spokesman among 8 slain in July 4 clash; another NPA dead in new encounter
SORSOGON CITY -- The spokesman of the National Democratic Front in the Bicol region was among the eight communist rebels who died in a clash with Army troops on July 4, the rebels acknowledged Saturday.
This developed as another New People’s Army guerrilla died in an encounter early Saturday morning in Barangay Gabao, Irosin, some 40 kilometers from this city, an Army commander said.
A statement released to media by the NPA’s Celso Minguez Command said Frankie Joe Soriano, who used the nom de guerre Ka (Comrade) Greg Banares, was among the rebel casualties in the July 4 battle in Juban town in this province.
The other fatalities were Pehing Hipa alias Ka Miloy, Ted Palacio alias Ka Gary, David Llunar alias Ka Rey, Romero Anonuevo alias Ka Nene, William Villanueva Jr. alias Ka Jay, Christine Puche alias Ka Nel, and Ailyn Calma alias Ka Kevin.
But a post on the Facebook page of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division said among the slain rebels was Arnel Estiller, alias Ka Ariston, secretary of Larangan 2, Komiteng Probinsya, and John Francis Perez, a member of KOMPROB.
Samuel Guerrero, spokesman of the NPA command in Sorsogon, said Soriano’s unit had in its possession P300,000 cash, laptops and cellular phones, which he said was not reported by the Army among the items its troops recovered.
But Lt. Col. Beerjenson Aquino, commanding officer of the 31st Infantry Battalion, whose troops were involved in both the July 4 and Saturday clashes, denied this, saying all recovered items were properly documented.
He said the cash could have been taken by the other fleeing rebels.
On Saturday’s encounter, Aquino said a platoon from his battalion’s Charlie Company was on patrol when they chanced upon the rebels.