Comelec: NPA killing in Escalante City may be beyond insurgency

BACOLOD CITY, April 2 (PNA) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) here urged Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office (NOPPO)to explore all possible angles in determining the motive behind the killing of a cop and civilian asset in Escalante City Monday night.

Provincial Election Supervisor Lawyer Wil Arceno told the press that the killing, believed to be perpetrated by sparu unit of New People’s Army (NPA), could be beyond insurgency.

“We do not discount the possibility that the killing might be election-related,” Arceno said in Hiligaynon when interviewed during the training of PCOS technicians here Tuesday.

Escalante City Police Office identified the victims as PO1 Bejen “Dodong” Tanguan of Regional Public Safety Battalion and Joseph Lotrago, a former member of Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unity (CAFGU).

Initial investigation disclosed that Latrago was a known supporter of Escalante City mayoralty candidate Santiago Barcelona and re-electionist Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr of United Negros Alliance.

The two victims were on board a motorcycle when the suspected rebels gunned them down in front of city’s public market in Barangay Balintawak around 6:35 p.m. Monday.

NOPPO Officer-in-Charge Provincial Director Senior Supt. Celestino Guara said pursuit operations against the suspects are still ongoing.

It should be known that Escalante City was included on the election watch list areas of Comelec in Negros Occidental early this year due to presence of private armed groups and intense political rivalry. (PNA)


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