AT LEAST four members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) have been tagged as suspects in the killing of a barangay official of Mabunga in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Bonifacio Tecson, chief of police of Guihulngan, said Friday, August 30, that the suspects are purportedly members of Isugan group of the NPA.
"We have identified the suspects already, but we cannot disclose their names until after we have filed charges against them," Tecson said.
A report from the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office earlier said that around 6 p.m. Wednesday, August 28, in Sitio Tamwag, Barangay Mabunga, the victim, kagawad Ramonito Handumon, was shot several times by unidentified gunmen while walking toward his house.
Tecson said investigators believe Handumon was killed on suspicion by the NPA of being an alleged informant of the military.
Witnesses told the police that the suspects had even shouted a warning that
they would "kill all the intel," referring to civilians who may be providing the military with information regarding the insurgency, he said.
The police chief said the Isugan group is named after its leader, a young man in his early 20s, who is on the run for his alleged involvement in the murder of a member of the Philippine Air Force in Cebu a few years back.
The group's leader, identified as Tomas Isugan in other media reports, has a warrant of arrest for the Air Force staff sergeant's murder.
Tecson confirmed that Isugan returned to Guihulngan City after that incident and is allegedly leading a team of young men -- minors aged 16 and up.
He said back then, there were already reports of minors allegedly being recruited by the NPA, although recently, his office has not received complaints from parents of children who have either gone missing or having joined the underground movement.
Criminal charges will be filed against the suspects for killing Handumon after the burial, Tecson said. (PNA)