THE Army said on Tuesday, May 9, the suspect in the February 20, 2015 ambush of Impasug-ong town Mayor Mario Okinlay was killed in a gunfight with government troops.

First Lieutenant Erwin Bugarin, 8th Infantry Battalion (8IB) spokesperson, said two rebels were reportedly found dead after firefight between soldiers and New People’s Army (NPA) rebels at Sitio Lamana, Barangay Kibalabag, Malaybalay City, on Friday, May 5.

The remains of the rebels killed in the firefight, Bugarin said, were transported to a funeral parlor in Malaybalay City, where the Ama family confirmed the identity of the cadaver as that of their kin Jimmy Sante Ama.

Sante Ama was tagged as one of the suspects in the ambush of Okinlay two years ago, and had a pending warrant for his arrest.

It can be recalled that Okinlay was on a motorcycle passing through barangay Bontongon on his way to the municipal hall when he was waylaid.

Okinlay was in a convoy composed of local officials and soldiers after conducting a medical mission in the hinterlands.

Okinlay died of bullet wounds in the stomach.

The NPA rebels immediately owned up to the killing accusing Okinlay of land grabbing and of ruling as a local tyrant against indigenoud Higaonon farmers.