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PIA Press Release

Three slain, 5 wounded in Sorsogon clash

by MS Arguelles, BA Recebido

LEGAZPI CITY (14 December) -- One New People's Army (NPA) rebel and two civilians were killed while five others were wounded in a clash on Sunday evening between policemen and suspected communist guerillas in Barangay Tabunan, Matnog town in Sorsogon, reports reaching Camp Simeon Ola here said.

In his report to Chief Sup't Victor Boco, Bicol police regional director, Senior Sup't Arnold Revilla, Sorsogon police director, identified the fatalities as one Ka Jerome, a suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebel, Renante Ladin, 29 and Marites Gabido, 25, residents of said village who were hit by stray bullets during the firefight.

Wounded were Amando Gabad, 20, an NPA rebel, resident of Juban, Sorsogon, PO1 Anthony Lazarte of the Matnog police force, and civilians Junnel Labitag, 4; Joel Ladim, 12; Glorven Ladim, 14; and Arvin Betonio, 9, all residents of said place The civilian casualties were hit by bullets while inside their respective houses located near the encounter scene.

Labitag and the young Ladim, the report said, were in critical condition when rushed to the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH), in this city, while the other of the Ladim children were taken to the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital and are in stable condition.

Revilla said the incident took place at about 9:50 p.m. Sunday, when a police patrol team encountered a 20-man band of NPA rebels believed to be preparing to stage an attack on the town police station some 300 meters from the densely populated village of Tabunan.

A sketch plan of the Matnog town proper indicating the police station and residences of policemen in the area were recovered from Gabad, the wounded and captured NPA rebel.

Revilla said that a team of policemen led by Matnog PNP deputy station chief SPO1 Emilio Ramos were patrolling the area when they noticed three suspicious-looking men inside a videoke bar in said village.

When approached by PO1 Anthony Lazarte, one of the three men seated and drinking beer, swiftly pulled his handgun and fired at Lazarte hitting his hands, Revilla said.

He added that while the policemen were engaging the armed men inside the videoke bar, another band of NPA rebels who were positioned at an elevated portion overlooking the clash scene open fire and engaged the lawmen in a 10-minute firefight.

Initial police investigation according to Revilla indicated that the bullets that killed Gabido and wounded the four children while inside their houses came from the elevated section of the village where the rebels positioned themselves.

Police recovered from the fight scene a 45 cal. Pistol, a 9mm Beretta loaded with 12 ammo, a magazine loaded with 7 live ammo for caliber 45 and two cellular phones. (PIA) [top]

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