Tipster gets bounty

P5.6- million reward for Parago’s fall
A REWARD of P5.6 million will be given by the Armed Forces to the civilian informant that led to the encounter that killed Leoncio Pitao alias Kumander Parago Sandoval in Purok 9, Barangay Panalum in Paquibato District Sunday afternoon.

Maj. Gen. Eduardo M. Año, speaking yesterday in a press conference held at a hotel in Lanang, told reporters that they cannot divulge the identity of the civilian for security reasons.

Ano said the civilian told the military about the presence of Kumander Parago in the area. The general said when the troops arrived, the New People’s Army fired first that led to a 20-minute firefight.

With Parago’s death the military believes the NPAs operating in Southern Mindanao will have a leadership crisis as there is no one in the NPA’s ranks who can replace Parago.

“This is a step of decline (to the) NPA. In fact, right now, there are many NPA members under his (Parago’s) command who went on absence without official leave.We are negotiating for them to surrender,” Año said.

“We are expecting that in the coming weeks and months there will be a lot of NPAs who would surrender,” he added.

The government forces are prepared for possible retaliation of the NPAs and have deployed forces to track the remaining rebels.

The encounter came barely two weeks after Parago’s group encountered the soldiers in the house of Aida Seisa, in Purok 7, Brgy. Paradise Embac in Paquibato where, according to the military, three of his comrades were killed in the encounter.

On June 17, two NPAs were also killed during a military pursuit operations in Purok Mangga in Barangay Paradise Embac.

After the two encounters, information from the villagers started coming out which led the soldiers to track the movement of Parago.

Task Force Minion, formed last December, composed of the 69th IB, 6th Scout Ranger Company, 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion, officials from 73rd IB, Military Intelligence Battalion and elements of Intelligence Service of the AFP, hunted him down.

A medic was also killed with him during the encounter. Recovered from the site were three M16 rifles, three backpacks and several rounds of handrifle grenades.

According to military information, Parago started in 1977 as NPA leader in Southern Mindanao Regional Command. He has 17 standing warrants of arrest for murder, multiple frustrated murder, robbery, abduction, and carnapping.

His time has come

Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte said the city was ready for any retaliatory attacks by the NPA, two days after the death of Leoncio “Kumander Parago” Pitao last weekend.

However, Duterte honored his personal friend and said there was no hate that the city government was harboring against the NPA.

“He was a friend, and he was a warrior, and to that I should concede,” Duterte said

The mayor attributed Pitao’s death as “just his time,” adding that the rebel leader would not have “a nice time” here in the city had he surrendered to the law because he would have to serve jailtime.

“There’s always a time to die, probably yesterday (Sunday) was his time. Eventually the long arm of the law will catch up with you.”

Duterte said he commiserates with the family personally and was ready to give out any assistance.

“I would like to commiserate with the family personally. But we do not hate our enemies here. Pag ang nasa paradigm mo, galit na galit ka sa kalaban mo, you lose control of yourself, so it’s not good.”

Sr. Supt. Vicente Danao, in an interview, said members of the NPA who would be visiting Pitao were welcome in the city. “It has always been the policy of the city to welcome them, as long as they do not carry weapons or improvised explosive devices with them.”