Village official, NPA rebel dead in Zambo Sur shootout

TWO people, including a village official and a New People’s Army (NPA) rebel, were killed in an exchange of gunfire in San Miguel, Zamboanga del Sur, the police reported on Tuesday, April 25.

Chief Superintendent Billy Beltran, Police Regional Office-Zamboanga Peninsula (Western Mindanao) director, said the incident occurred around 9 p.m., Saturday, at Purok 1 in the village of Dumalian, San Miguel, Zamboanga del Sur.

Beltran identified the fatalities as Rodrigo Matchuca, 60, the village chief of Dumalian, and NPA rebel Dexter Lihop, 19.

Investigation showed that Matchuca together with a companion, Danny Boy Balolong, were having a drinking spree at the store of Rommel Vergas when Lihop and three others suddenly appeared and opened fire.

Matchuca and Balolong managed to return fire killing Lihop on the spot. The village official died later.

Beltran said the three companions of Lihop fled from the crime scene upon seeing the latter fell dead on the ground. They took Lihop’s caliber .45 pistol.

Beltran said one of the three companions of Lihop was identified as Zacarias Robledo, 21.

He said investigation further showed that the NPA rebels killed Matchuca since the village official withdraw his support to the rebel group.

Matchuca, who was a NPA rebel, was elected as village chief after he surrendered to the government.

Beltran said a military detachment was established in the village of Dumalian during Matchuca’s incumbency. (SunStar Philippines)
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