NPA: Successful Gubat ambush, Ka Magno’s last hurrah

SORSOGON — Andres “Ka Magno” Hubilla helped plan the ambush that killed four government troopers and injured seven others Monday, the Celso Minguez Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) in this province said.

In a statement today, the provincial NPA unit said their fallen Communist Party of the Philippines Sorsogon Party Committee Secretary helped in the painstaking planning of the ambush days before he was killed because of many human rights violations reportedly committed by the state troopers.

“Kasabay si Ka Magno na naging bahagi ng matiyagang pagpaplano at pag-aaral ng sitwasyon para maikasa ang nasabing ambus,” Ka Samuel Guerrero, Celso Minguez Command spokesperson, said.

Guerrero said they successfully ambushed a platoon of the 31st Infantry Battallion of the Philippine Army and the 5th Regional Public Safety Battalion of the Philippine National Police based in Gubat town in Barangay Marinas at 5:25 in the morning Monday.

Guerrero claimed they killed four soldiers, including platoon leader 2Lt. Lee Omega Tremedal, Sgt. Rolyn Cabagon, Pfc. Jaype Nebiar and another he failed to identify.

The rebel spokesperson also named five of the injured 31st IBPA troopers, including Michael Lionar, Jeremy Tu, Roland Sayson, Eduard Lumanog and Mark Oscillada.

Meanwhile, Maj. Virgilio Perez, spokesperson of the Southern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday said only two soldiers were killed and seven were wounded in yesterday’s clash.

Perez declined to name the casualties pending formal AFP notification of their families.

Guerrero said their Red fighters took three M4 carbine rifles, ammunition pouches, military packs and radio equipment from the waylaid soldiers.

“Kampanteng naglalakad ang 30-kataong tropang kaaway ng tambangan ng mga kasama. Umabot ng 45-minuto ang labanan,” Guerrero said.

“Ang maging sobrang kampante at mayabang ang bulnerabilidad ng kaaway na nasamantala ng mga kasama,” he added.

Guerrero said the ambush was also a reaction to the continuous combat operations by the government troops in Casiguran and Gubat towns since August 3.

Residents of several Casiguran barangays had been wary of increased military presence in the area since the killing of Hubilla, fellow NPA member Miguel “Ka Billy” Himor and civilians Arnel Borres and Dick Laura in Barangay Trece Martires last July 28.

Hubilla and Himor’s wakes were held in neighboring Barangay Sta. Cruz, a few kilometers from the ambush site.

The 31st IBPA was the unit involved in what locals say was the “Casiguran Massacre.”

“Inspirasyon ng mga kasama sa matagumpay na taktikal na opensibang ito ang dakilang buhay ng dalawang rebolusyonaryong martir (Hubilla and Himor),” Guerrero said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)