A suspected secretary of the communist rebel group New People’s Army was allegedly slain in a shootout with the military this morning in Antipolo City.
The suspected rebel was identified as Armando Lazarte, who goes by the alias “Pat Romano,” the military’s public affairs office told The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Aside from Lazarte, two other suspected rebels were killed: one was a certain platoon leader identified as “Ka Bisaya,” and another who remained unidentified.
Lazarte and his comrades were killed at around 2am after they allegedly shot at soldiers and cops who were about to serve them arrest warrants for murder and attempted murder in the city’s village of Cupang, GMA News reports. The authorities said they performed first aid on the rebels and brought them to Amang Rodriguez Hospital, where they were declared dead on arrival.
Lt. Col. Christopher Diaz, the commander of the 80th Infantry Battalion, which covers Antipolo City, described Lazarte as a “notorious” rebel allegedly responsible for burning construction equipment used at the controversial Kaliwa Dam project in Quezon province early this year. Diaz also accused Lazarte of using landmines to ambush cops in Baras town and Antipolo City in 2018.
Seized from the suspected rebels were an M16 rifle, a 9mm pistol, a .45-caliber pistol, two hand grenades, laptops, cellphones, and several documents, RMN reports.
Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, the incoming Philippine Army chief, congratulated his men for killing the rebels and for “being steadfast in defeating the NPA terrorists in Southern Tagalog which will pave the way for peace, prosperity and development in the immediate south of the national government’s seat of power.”