A wanted high-ranking official and a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in two successive encounters with the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB) in Leon, Iloilo on Thursday, May 2.

Lt. Col. J-Jay Javines, chief of the 3rd Division Public Affairs Office, identified the fatalities as Nahum Camariosa alias Rodel/Bebong, squad leader of the dismantled Southern Panay Front (SPF), Komiteng Rehiyon–Panay, and alias JunJun/Cedrick, a member of Regional Sentro de Gravidad (RSDG) of the NPA in the region.

“Camariosa is the only remaining focal person of the dismantled SPF. With his death, they will have no direction because of the leadership vacuum,” Javines said in an interview on Friday.

Camariosa has a P150,000 bounty on his head for his string of criminal cases, including multiple murders, frustrated murder and robbery. 

He was also involved in an encounter in the municipality of San Joaquin, where his daughter Rena Rhea was among those killed on Feb. 28, and a series of clashes in adjacent Miagao town on March 4.

The government troops recovered from the encounter site in the boundary of barangays Bucari and Cawilihan three M16, one M14 and AK-47 rifles, and an anti-personnel mine.

Javines said the first encounter happened around 7:30 a.m., followed by another at 9:50 a.m.

“The information coming from the community was a big help. Without information from our civilian residents, it would be difficult to locate them,” he said, adding that the encounter site was a forested area and far from the community.

In a statement, 3ID Commander Maj. Gen. Marion Sison lauded the 61IB and the residents for their collaborative efforts, resulting in successful operations. 

“The residents’ cooperation significantly bolstered our troops’ capability to track the movement and location of the CNTs (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army Terrorists) with precision. Their unwavering vigilance underscores their deep awareness of their crucial role in establishing a Stable Internal Peace and Security (SIPS) in Panay Island and across the Western and Central Visayas. With this magnitude of support we have earned from the Ilonggos, we are optimistic that we can dismantle the remaining Guerilla Front of the CTG in Panay, particularly the Central Front, paving the way to declare this island a SIPS zone,” Sison said.

Javines said the families of Camariosa, who hail from barangay Manampunay in Leon, and alias JunJun from barangay Bad-as, San Joaquin, have been informed of their deaths.

Before they were transported to a funeral home in Tubungan town, their bodies were brought to the Aleosan District Hospital in Alimodian, Iloilo around 10 p.m. on Thursday.Perla Lena/PNA