LEGAZPI CITY -- At least four suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels, including their leader, were killed on Friday, July 28 in an encounter with government troops in Barangay Trece Martirez in Casiguran, Sorsogon.
According to Inspector Joseph Millarez, Casiguran town police chief, killed in the clash were suspected leader Andres Hubilla alias Bunso and Magno, and his three unidentified companions.
Millarez said a joint team of police and army troopers on patrol encountered a 30-man rebel group led by Hubilla around 5:05 a.m. on Friday.
The encounter led to a 30-minute firefight where at the first volley of gunfire, four NPA rebels died instantly, Millarez said.
Suspected rebels, sensing that the government troops were in a vantage point, immediately withdrew to a mountainous area of the village.
Barangay Trece Martirez, a hinterland village, is 10 kilometers away from the town Poblacion.
Recovered from the scene was the service handgun of the rebel leader.
Hubilla, a native of Barangay Sta. Cruz, Casiguran town, was the former secretary of the Communist Party of the Philippines/NPA provincial committee and member of the Bicol Regional Party Committee.
Millarez said Hubilla's group is reportedly operating in remote villages of Casiguran and neighboring towns.
Police report said Hubilla is facing rebellion charges including murder and attempted murder at a local court in Sorsogon City.
He was arrested last year in Trece Martirez, Cavite, but he was able to post bail for his temporary liberty.
Millarez said no casualty was reported among the government troops.
Military and police operatives are in pursuit operations, scouring the areas where the NPA rebels could have sought refuge. Military and police checkpoints were set up in nearby areas.
Police are doing their rounds checking clinics and hospitals for patients admitted with gunshot wounds.
President Rodrigo Duterte last week suspended the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front following the ambush staged by its armed wing, New People's Army against members of the Presidential Security Group in Cotabato. (SunStar Philippines/PNA)