ZAMBOANGA CITY – A top official of the New People’s Army in western Mindanao, who carried a P6.15-million bounty for his capture, was killed in an encounter with government forces in Tampilisan town, Zamboanga del Norte, Friday, November 13.
Killed in the 45-minute encounter with elements of the 44th Infantry Battalion (44th IB) was Leonardo Nabong, also known as Otik, Berto or Bonie, who was the former secretary and current first deputy secretary of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA.
According to 102nd Infantry Brigade (102nd IB) Commander Brig. Ge. Leonel Nicolas, the government troops were conducting combat operations when they encountered Nabong and 10 armed NPAs in Purok 2 Barangay ZNAC in Tampilisan at around 6:15 p.m., Friday.
The terrorists belonged to the Guerilla Front Flex A of the WMRPC.
A fierce gun battle ensued, lasting about 45 minutes, and when the smoke cleared on the encounter, Nabong lay dead.
“The identity of Nabong was confirmed by former rebels who are currently participating in our livelihood programs,” Nicolas added.
Military records showed that Nabong was also an Executive Committee member of the Komisyon Mindanao (KOMMID).
He was facing multiple warrants of arrest for multiple murder with quadruple frustrated murder and damage to government property, and rebellion issued by the Regional Trial Court 10th Judicial Region Branch 36 in Calamba, Misamis Occidental with a reward of P6.15 million, Nicolas said.
The soldiers recovered the remains of Nabong and war materiel including one M14 rifle, four M16A1 Elisco, one M203 Grenade Launcher, 10 long and four short magazines for M16 rifle, six rounds live ammunition of 40mm.
Pursuit and blockade were being conducted by the operating troops to thwart the extrication of the militants, Joint Task Force (JTF) ZamPeLan Commander Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio said.
“We will continue to conduct focused military operations and maximize intelligence monitoring to disallow the menaces of society to thrive in the communities in our area of operation,” he told Armed Force of the Philippines- Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) Commander Lt Gen Corleto Vinluan, Jr.
For his part, Vinluan said, “Let us continue to work together to win over any threat that hinders peace and progress in the communities.”