ILOILO CITY — A team leader of Western Visayas Regional Mobile Force Reconnaissance Company was killed following an encounter with suspected members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) on Wednesday night in Janiuay town.
Capt. Efren Espanto, 29, of La Carlota City, Negros Occidental died due to a gunshot wound on his right eye, Capt. Dadje Delima, chief of Janiuay Municipal Police Station confirmed in a phone interview on Thursday.
“Our mobile force was on a combat operation when they engaged with these communist terrorists. The operation was led by our casualty, Capt. Efren Espanto,” he said.
Espanto was the lone casualty recorded by the police during the encounter.
Delima said the police are yet to confirm if the rebels might have Espanto as their sole target during the 15- to 30-minute firefight.
The body of Espanto will be subjected to autopsy. “The result (of the autopsy) will determine the firearm used by the rebels. We are yet to identify the bullet,” the police chief said.
The still unidentified number of rebels fled after the gunfight.
Delima said the CPP-NPA might also have sustained injuries.
He noted there had been frequent sightings of CPP-NPA at Aglobong village as it is geographically near Atimonan village, an identified NPA-influenced area.
Atimonan is identified by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as one of the priority areas to end local communist armed conflict.
“There are frequent rebel sightings, movement, and recruitment there,” Delima said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Janiuay municipal police are currently preparing the documents to be presented to the police regional office to determine the next steps to take.
Espanto is a member of the Philippine National Police Academy class 2015. Gail Momblan/PNA – northboundasia.com