By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
A high-ranking female officer of the New People’s Army (NPA) along with her three other fellow insurgents were killed following a fierce encounter with the elements of the 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB) and Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office at Hacienda Builder, Barangay San Pablo in Manapla, Negros Occidental early yesterday morning.
Authorities identified the slain NPA official as Marilyn “Ka Monet” Badayos, former secretary of the South East Front of the NPA and finance officer of the NPA’s Northern Negros Front.
Also killed in the encounter were Ronilo Desabille and Rody Carbajosa. A third insurgent, meanwhile, has yet to be identified as of press time.
First Lt. Dansan Camua, Civil Military Operations Officer of the 79IB, said the gun battle started at around 2:00 a.m. when their unit encountered the rebels in the area. It lasted for at least one hour until the rebels withdrew towards the direction of Victorias City.
After securing the encounter site, authorities seized one .45 caliber pistol, a .38 caliber revolver, two fragmentation grenades, propaganda materials, and other subversive documents.
Based on background information on Badayos, she has an existing warrant of arrest issued by the San Carlos City Regional Trial Court for the crime of attempted murder.
Badayos was also previously arrested in June 2016 in Negros Oriental for attempted homicide and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
Her homicide case stemmed over the killing of Private First Class Marlon Lanes in Bais City, Negros Oriental during a sniping incident in 2014.
She was also allegedly involved in the murders of Police Sgt. Joe Harry Peralta and Patrolman Henrey Pacheco during an ambush in Barangay Caningay, Candoni town in Negros Occidental in 2016.
Badayos later posted bail for the criminal charges, authorities said.
Meanwhile, Major General Benedict Arevalo, commander of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said the latest encounter is a major setback for the insurgents, pointing out it will significantly disrupt the NPA’s extortion schemes and support system for their members not only in Negros but in the entire region.
Arevalo also urged the Negrenses to continue supporting the government’s peace campaign in ending local communist armed conflict, not only in Negros but likewise in the whole region./DGB, WDJ