Soldiers of the 47th Infantry Battalion figured in another armed skirmish yesterday with suspected New People’s Army rebels in Sitio Mag-asawang Bukid, Brgy. Camindangan, Sipalay City, Negros Occidental.
This was after the military freed Thursday an arrestedsuspected NPA leader identified as Mary Jane Magkilatin Brgy. Bantayan, Kabankalan City, who was brought to the police for documentation and record purposes.
Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said the running gunbattle lasted for almost five minutes, and the rebels withdrew in separate directions.
No casualty was reported on the government side, while Army soldiers were scouring the encounter site as of press time yesterday.
Two months ago, a suspected NPAfighter was killed in an encounter with combined forces of the 47th IB and Scout Ranger troopers in the same place.
On other hand, Magkilat was released by the Philippine Army Thursday evening, since there is no evidence against her, to warrant her detention, Supt. Calixto Mabugat, Kabankalan police chief, said.
Magkilat, alias Chin-Chin, who is the head of the Education Bureau of the South West Front Committee of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros, is also the wife of NPA commander Reniel Cellon,alias Kumpol.
At the same time, Magkilat, who was also tagged by the military as the political officer of the South West Front Committee Platoon 2, that is commanded by her husband.
Lt. Col. Rodrigo Sosmena, 47th IB commander, said Magkilat is listed in the military order of battle as among the NPA leaders operating in southern Negros.
Cellon, the husband of Magkilat, was linked by the military to the numerous killings of civilian and their former comrades who were suspected of being government informants, in southern Negros.
Sosmena said the NPA in southwest Negros are continuously on the run, owing to their sustained military and social pressure.
Before she was released, Magkilat was brought by Army soldiers to a hospital in Brgy. Tabugon, Kabankalan City, for a medical check-up* GPB