A ranking New People’s Army guerilla leader believed by authorities to be behind burning heavy equipment in Mindoro was killed in an encounter after security forces heightened their hunt against rebel fighters, the military said Saturday.
This coincided with reports that soldiers discovered a cave used as hideout and hospital by rebel fighters in the hinterlands of Agusan del Norte farther south.
Sr. Supt. Socrates Faltado, spokesperson of MIMAROPA, said Rustom Simbulan, alias “Bobby/Silang and Bayani,” platoon leader of KLG Central, was killed during an encounter with security troops in Sitio Uraray, Barangay Waygan, Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro at about 5 a.m. Friday.
Faltado said Simbulan had a standing bounty of P500,000 and was listed in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police Joint Order 14-2012.
Prior to Simbulan’s death, he was the object of a warrant of arrest for multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder issued by RTC 4th Judicial Region, Branch 40 in Calapan City.
Faltado said that Simbulan was involved in torching heavy equipment of Sta. Clara Hyrdo Electric Power Plant in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro on Feb. 26 and the failed raid of the PMI Aggregates in Gloria, Oriental, Mindoro last Feb. 28 that resulted in the death of a policeman.
Faltado said troops recovered a cal .45 pistol from Simbulan’s possession along with two magazines, one cellular phone, medicines, backpack, sling bag, and hammock.
“Our country’s peacekeepers will push forward in eradicating these terrorists, with the help of the people, we can do it,” Faltado said.
The NPAs operating in Oriental and Occidental Mindoro have several times attacked government forces and private business firms.
Meanwhile, soldiers hunting down communist terrorists led to the discovery of a cave and bunker and hospital used by the CPP-NPA in Sitio Bulak, Brgy Lower Olave, Buenavista Agusan del Norte last Thursday, the military said.
The clandestine NPA hideout was detected following a tipped-off from concerned civilians relating to the presence of armed elements within the community.
Reports said the troops were moving towards the terrorists’ location, when they discovered a cave measuring 40x30 meters that could accommodate 15 persons.
The scouring inside the cave led to the recovery of two Garand Rifles, 90 pieces of medicine (Atropine Sulfate) and documents.
Lt. Col. Francisco Molina Jr., commander of the 23rd Infantry Battalion, said the cave was believed used as hospital where the terrorists performed surgical operations.