The Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (IB) on Friday assailed the New People’s Army (NPA) for killing businessman Juvinie Sarona in Toboso, Negros Occidental last Jan. 2.
“It’s an arrogant and shameless admission,” said Capt. Dan Carlo Samoza, civil-military operations of 79IB led by Lt. Col. Arnel Calaoagan, in a statement after the NPA’s Roselyn Jean Pelle Command (RJPC) confirmed to the local media that they ambushed Sarona and torched a tractor that belongs to his father.
The RJPC’s Northern Negros Front was declared dismantled by the 79IB, but its remnants are still operating in some areas in the north.
It claimed that Sarona, 43, was involved in the massacre that claimed the lives of nine sugarcane farm workers in Sagay City in 2018.
However, the Toboso Municipal Police Station reported that Sarona has no criminal records but was instead a well-known supporter of peace efforts in the locality.
In a media interview, Maj. Jun Ray Batadlan, town police chief, said they identified 15 NPA rebels as the perpetrators and would soon file charges against them.
The group of armed men gunned down Sarona at his residence in Barangay Bug-ang on the night of Jan. 2, police report showed. (PNA)