NPA rebels shoot retired soldier dead
Raffy T. Cabristante (The Freeman) - July 26, 2018 - 12:00am

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines — A retired soldier was killed Tuesday afternoon after he was shot multiple times by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Barangay Bulado, Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental, three hours away from this city.

 

Superintendent Mario Baquiran, chief of the Guihulngan Police, told The FREEMAN that 53-year-old Larry de Gracia, a retired master sergeant of the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (IB), was killed on the spot after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds including a shot to the head.

Initial police investigation showed that de Gracia, who is now the manager of the Bulado Port in Guihulngan City, was driving his motorcycle on his way home from the port Tuesday afternoon when two yet unidentified gunmen ambushed and shot him multiple times. More than 10 used shells of a 9mm and a .45 caliber pistol were recovered from the crime scene.

The shooters, along with their alleged companions, then reportedly shouted “Mabuhay ang NPA” as they fled the scene, Baquiran said over the phone.

As of press time, authorities have not yet determined the motive for the shooting, but Baquiran said the police are not discounting the possibility that de Gracia’s killing may have had something to do with his former military career.

The police chief further noted that de Gracia, who retired from the military service in 2015, was possibly a target for liquidation by the NPA as he had been receiving death threats since last month. “Ni-report pa nga niya sa mga dating katropa niya na may natatanggap nga siyang mga threat sa buhay niya,” Baquiran said.

Guihulngan Police, along with the Army’s 94th IB, are currently conducting hot pursuit operations against the perpetrators. This is the third time communist rebels were tagged in a shooting incident in Guihulngan City since April.

On April 2, suspected rebels shot incumbent Guihulngan City councilor Paulo Edison dela Rita Sr. while he was driving home from a fund-raising event.

Just last month, more than 70 armed men, also believed to be NPA rebels, strafed the home of incoming Barangay Humay-Humay chairman Mike Jakosalem on the morning of June 12. He later died of his injuries at a hospital in Cebu City after weeks of being in a coma.

Because of these incidents, the Army deployed the 94th IB to curb the insurgency problem in Guihulngan City. Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NORPPO) acting director Sr. Supt. Raul Tacaca previously said that they are now intensifying police checkpoints in the city in response to these shooting incidents.

 

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