TWO robbery with homicide victims in Oton, Iloilo last December 26 have turned out to be ranking Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army personalities, Philippine National Police chief, General Debold M. Sinas said yesterday.
“Local policemen who were investigating that robbery with homicide case a day after Christmas learned that the victims who bore strangulation marks were CPP-NPA personalities,” the top cop told newsmen at Camp Crame.
The bodies of the victims identified as Antonio Cabanatan and Florenda Yap were found inside their rented house in Barangay Botong in Oton municipality 2 a.m.last December 26.
An initial investigation showed that still unidentified suspects forced their way into the couple’s rented house before ransacking the place and strangling the victims to death. The suspects fled with a still undetermined amount of valuables they stole from the couple.
Recovered at the crime scene were identification cards showing the photos with different names of the victims, one caliber .45 pistol with a loaded magazine, an NPA flag and an NPA training manual.
Sinas said the Iloilo Police Provincial Office is thoroughly investigating the incident and are looking for all possible witnesses and other pieces of evidence that could lead them to the identification and arrest of the suspects who will be facing a robbery with double homicide case.
However, a record check conducted by ‘the Police Regional Office 6 showed that Cabanatan who is also know thru his aliases “Dama/Tibo/Ranato/Wantu/Kulas/Bokto/Peter/Roger’ is the subject of a warrant of arrest for robbery with double homicide and damage to properties issued by the Bayugan Regional Trial Court Branch 7 in Agusan del Sur on September 4, 2004.
Cabanatan was identified as a member of the CPP-NPA’s National Military Commission, chairman of the Samahan ng Demokratikong Kabataan Chapter and Consolidation for the Revolutionary Youth, Secretary of the Cebu Provincial Council and a current CPP/NPA Central Committee/Politburo member.
On the other hand, Yap alias ‘Dayon/Nene’ was identified as the acting finance officer of the CPP Central Committee, the finance secretary of the CPP-NPA Mindanao Commission and at the same time its deputy secretary for education.
Cabanatan was also identified as among the CPP-NPA personalities, four of them party-list representatives who were charged with rebellion/insurrection by the PNP in 2006. The victim, along with former CPP/NPA leader Jorge Madlos were said to be key rebel personalities in Mindanao and Visayas.
Cabanatan was also linked to a number of attacks on government troops in the countryside including a raid on a police station in Eastern Samar on March 26, 1979; the disarming of members of a police station in Matuguinao, Eastern Samar on May 13, 1979 and the infamous ‘Inopacan Massacre’ in Leyte were rebels accused of siding with the government were executed and buried in mass graves.