Probe on killing of ex-Samar mayor to continue even after NPA owns up – PNP

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) will dig deeper into the killing of former San Jose de Buan, Samar Mayor Ananias Rebato despite the New People’s Army (NPA) owning up to the attack last week.

In a press briefing Monday, PNP Regional Director Dionardo Carlos said they still have to verify reports that communist rebels are behind the incident killed the mayor’s bodyguard in a pre-dawn attack on Oct. 8.

Rebato, 57, who was critically injured, died Saturday night at the intensive care unit of the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, where he was confined after the ambush.

One of the four gunmen was killed during the incident while another one was arrested.

“We have to continue the investigation even after the NPA’s admission since we have to look at all angles. As soon as we have verified the same and if evidence warrants, we will pursue them with the filing of appropriate charges,” Carlos told reporters.

PNP Samar provincial director, Senior Supt. Nicolas Torre III, said they are skeptic if rebels are really behind the ambush since one of the arrested suspects denied any link to the communist group.

“The police does not recognize the NPA’s system by any means. Instead, we tag them as criminals,” Torres said.

Gunmen ambushed Rebato in Babaclayon village where he attended a fiesta-related event. He was hit in different parts of the body together with his close-in escort and nephew, Severino Tesero.

Rebato was mayor of the town on 1998-2007 and from 2010 to 2016. He was supposed to run as vice mayor in next year’s elections.

The NPA took responsibility for the ambush as they accused the former mayor as intelligence officer of the military.

San Jose de Buan is a 4th class town in Samar with a population of 7,769 in 14 villages. The town is 121 kilometers away from this city, passing through a mix of paved, gravel, and muddy roads. (PNA)