NPA-Negros regional spokesperson Juanito Magbanua dies

Guerrillas claim gov’t troopers summarily-killed ailing leader

The spokesperson of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Negros Island had been killed by government troopers Monday afternoon, the communist guerrilla’s regional command confirmed.

Juanito Magbanua, spokesperson of the NPA’s Apolinario Gatmaitan Command (AGC), was killed by Philippine Army’s 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) troopers in Sitio Medel, Barangay Carabalan, Himamaylan City at around 5:45 in the afternoon, the group announced.

The NPA however said Magbanua (born Romeo V. Nanta) was summarily-killed as there was no clash in the area and only four shots were fired that ended the ailing rebel spokesperson’s life.

The AGC said Magbanua was suffering from hypertension and arthritis and chose to stay at Sitio Medel to closely monitor the mass evacuation of civilians as well as the NPA’s manoeuvres during the ongoing military operations in the area.

[WHAT WENT BEFORE] Philippine Army orders mass evacuation in Himamaylan City

The 303rd Infantry Brigade ordered the evacuation of thousands of civilians last weekend following a clash with the NPA’s Mt. Cansermon Command that killed two government soldiers and injured six others.

The NPA said Magbanua was captured and should have been accorded hors de combat (unable to fight) status.

B/Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, claimed that Magbanua was killed during a 10-minute clash between the 94th IB and 10 NPA fighters.

Magbanua’s remains was brought to Himamaylan City proper where he was identified.

The NPA said it mourns Magbanua’s death and vowed to exact justice for his “cold-blooded murder.”

“This is a day of mourning for all comrades, revolutionary forces, friends and family and especially the exploited and oppressed masses, not only in Negros but the whole country,” the NPA said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)