A NEWLY-IDENTIFIED drug personality was gunned down by suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) at Sitio Balonggay, Barangay Montilla in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental around 3:20 p.m., Monday.

Senior Inspector Alan Reloj, chief of Moises Padilla Municipal Police Station, identified the fatality as Dante Bajala, 27, a laborer and a habal-habal (motorcycle-for-hire) driver.

Bajala was sitting outside his house with some friends when five unidentified men arrived and told his companions to stay away, and fired at him.

He was able to run for a few meters, but he fell down and died. He sustained gunshot wounds on his chest and hands.

Investigators recovered 20 fired bullets of two different short firearms.

Reloj said it took them an hour to respond since he decided to ask for assistance from the Philippine Army first for the conduct of thorough inspection as residents believed the assailants were NPA members.

They heard the suspects shouting “NPA ni, re-route kamo alagyan” (We are the NPA, find alternative routes),

Aside from the five assailants, there were also 25 armed men who surrounded the area and fired at Bajala’s house, Reloj said.

He added that they are eyeing grudge as the motive since the victim has previous police records, including the alleged killing of two persons three years ago.

It could also be related to illegal drugs as the victim’s brother was already subjected to Oplan Tokhang earlier, Reloj added.

Investigation is ongoing.