Sunday, December 27, 2015

Yearender: The death of a rebel leader

From the Mindanao Times (Dec 27): Yearender: The death of a rebel leader

LEONCIO Pitao aka Kumander Parago has managed to elude military and police authorities for decades, but his luck ran out when he was killed in a reported encounter with with government troops in Purok 9, Barangay Panalum in Paquibato District around 2:30 p.m. June 28 this year.
Kumander Parago, leader of the Pulang Bagani Command 1, was killed during an operation spearheaded by the Scout Ranger Company, 69th Infantry Battalion, Task Force Minion and Military Intelligence Battalion under the 10th Infantry Division.
Troops were also able to recover two M16 rifles, three rifle grenades and three backpacks.
According to military accounts, Parago was able to evade the authorities who wanted to serve the arrest warrant on June 14 when the military received a tip that the NPA leader was in the house of Aida Seisa, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas leader, in Paradise Embac, Paquibato District.
Bomb shatters van
An improvised bomb ripped through a passenger van around 9:45 a.m. along Ecowest Drive in Ecoland last Nov. 18.
Meanwhile, shrapnel and shattered glass wounded the driver’s aides who luckily survive the blast.
Davao City immediately went into lockdown following the incident, even as authorities assured that there’s no direct terror threat to the public.
The victim was identified as Alberto C. Besanez Jr., 27, from Poblacion Pikit, North Cotabato who sustained shrapnel wounds on his left arm and above his elbow.
Meanwhile, Herman Daag, the driver of the UV express van with a plate number MVW-553 owned by Gregorio Guerrero, escaped unscathed.
Daag told police investigators that three men alighted right before the blast, one disembarked in front of SM City Ecoland and the other two hopped off inside the shopping mall’s van terminal.
They left the terminal to go eat breakfast when they heard a huge explosion while passing in front of Ecoland 4000 residences.  Besanez was brought to Southern Philippines Medical Center while Central 911 medical personnel attended to Daag after his blood pressure rose.
Initial post-blast investigation showed that the recovered sling bag left at the backseat was believed to contain the improvised explosive device.
Investigators also recovered a shattered cellphone, a deformed 9-volt battery and fragments of 60mm mortar.
Police spokesperson Milgrace C. Driz said that extortion is one possible motive for the blast.
7 dead, 39 arrested in massive drug op
Seven suspects who allegedly tried to fight the police were killed and 39 others arrested during the simultaneous raids in different areas in the city around 3 a.m. on July 16.
In the initial report, 27 of the arrested suspects were men while the rest were women, including a 16-year-old.
The seven killed were identified as Jabar Aboul, Cyril Abinoja, Reynaldo Quindao, Nonoy Tiongko, Marvin F. Vargas, Jerome Portolazo and Dodong Quiba.
Armed with 36 search warrants, the San Pedro Police Precinct managed to serve 10 in Bucana, Tibungco, Bankerohan. The Sta. Ana Police Precinct served nine in Bucana and Mini-Forest; the  Talomo precinct served five in Dumoy, Bangkal and Matina Gravahan.
Police also seized three motorcycles, 13 firearms, three grenades, 73 grams of marijuana and 353.5 grams of shabu with an estimated street value of P3.2.
The suspects were arrested in the Joint Oplan Kaagapay operation led by the Eastern Mindanao Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, along with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Davao City Police office, Police Regional Office-Regional Public Safety Battalion, Regional Intelligence Unit and Maritime Police.
“This is a fourth major operation in the city ,this is one of the biggest operations nationwide,” Sr. Supt. Vicente D. Danao Jr. told reporters in an interview yesterday. “This should serve as a warning to others.”
Adzhar Albani, newly appointed PDEA-XI regional director, said they will continue to conduct drug operations until the menace is eradicated.
“We will continue until somebody doesn’t stop selling drugs, then I will recommend for the replication in other region,” he said, adding that it was a very complicated operation due to the number of agencies involved.
“Nobody leaked any information that’s why we produced good results,” he added.
One of the suspects, Brian C. Acmad, 38, resident in Toril, arrested in the operation was wearing a uniform of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. He denied being a guerilla commander claiming that the uniform was a gift to him.
Samal kidnapping
Three foreign nationals along with a Filipina were kidnapped by unidentified armed men in OceanView Resort in Samal on Sept. 21.
Police identified the victims as Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekinstad, 56; Canadian guests John Ridsdel, 68, and Robert Hall, 50; and the latter’s Filipina girlfriend only identified as Tess.
They were forcibly taken by 11 armed men inside the Holiday Ocean view Resort at 11:23 p.m.
As of now the victims remained captives by unidentified armed men.
Last Oct. 13, a 2:22-minute clip video was uploaded on YouTube, and it showed three foreigners and a Filipina held by armed men.  There were eight fully armed men surrounding the victims with the recognizable black ISIS flag flying behind them.
Then November this year,Another  a video circulated online showing Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, and Filipina Marithes Flor with their captors in an unidentified area.
The three foreigners explained that they are being held captive by the ASG and that a ransom of P1 billion is being asked for each of them.
But the police and military ignored the demand of the abductors of the four Samal kidnap victims to pay P4 billion for their liberty.
“We have a no ransom policy so that means we focus our attention on the ongoing rescue operations for the victims,” Supt. Antonio Rivera, spokesperson of Davao Police Regional Office said.
In a separate interview, Maj. Gen. Eduardo M. Ano, commanding general of Philippine Army said the rescue operations is ongoing.
“The military will not stop until the kidnap victims are rescued,” he said. “The government will not negotiate with the Abu sayyaf terrorists.”
MMA fighter killed
Ale Cali, 25, a mixed martial arts fighter, resident of Trading Boulevard was shot to death by men on board a motorcycle in front of a hardware in Ulas crossing at 10:30 am last August 16.
Sr. Supt. Vicente D. Danao Jr, told reporters  that they are looking into personal grudge, love triangle or work-related tiff as possible motives of the killing.
Cali won the Pacific Xtreme Combat flyweight title against Guamanian stalwart Jesse Taitano via TKO in 2012 but made just one successful title defense before losing to Louis Smolka by stoppage on Nov. 10, 2013.
He lost to Ernesto Mondilla in his last outing in March 2014. He posted a 5-3 career record.
NPA skirmishes kill 4 soldiers, hurt 19
Last Dec. 12, one soldier was killed and four others were wounded in a landmine blast planted by New People’s Army rebels in Paquibato District last week. Meanwhile, another two were killed in separate attack in Mabini, Compostela over the weekend.
The first blast occurred around 12 noon on Thursday when soldiers from Bravo
Company under the 69th Infantry Battalion, were checking reported presence of armed men under Ka Jiares of GF 56 and Pulang Bagani Command 1 at Sitio Kialaw, Barangay Malabog.
The casualty was identified as Pfc. Johnhill Victor Alarcon, while Cpl. Ramil Aquino suffered shrapnel wounds.
The second blast occured when soldiers from Charlie Company, 69th IB, were pursuing the fleeing NPAs in Sitio Bal-ong, Barangay Malabog, Paquibato District around 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Three soldiers, one officer and two enlisted personnel, were hit by gunshots and shrapnel wounds but managed to survive the blast. They were immediately transported to the hospital for medical treatment.
The wounded soldiers were identified as 2Lt. Earl Jun Atucha, Sgt. Maynard de Guzman and Cpl. Allan Paul Salvador.
Meanwhile, in Barangay Cabuyoan, Mabini in Compostela Valley, soldier and government militias were killed, and 14 others wounded, in a landmine blast at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Capt. Rhyan Batchar, spokesperson of 10th Infantry Division, said that one civilian was also killed in the explosion, while another one landed at the hospital in critical condition.

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