Police continue to verify identity of ‘lawyer’ killed in Bohol encounter

By: Emmariel Ares - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | February 24,2024 - 10:01 PM

Police continue to verify identity of 'lawyer' killed in Bohol encounter

In a video captured by a resident of Purok Matinan-ao Dos, Barangay Campagao, Bilar, Bohol, multiple shots can be heard while law enforcers and alleged NPA fighters engaged in a shootout on Friday morning, February 23, 2024. | Screenshot from contributed video via Paul Lauro

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Police are validating the identity of a woman who was one of the fatalities of an encounter that happened in Bilar town in Bohol province on Friday morning.

In a phone interview on Saturday, Police Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office Central Visayas (PRO-7), they are yet to verify if the Hannah Joy Cesista, who died in the encounter, was indeed a lawyer.

“As of now, we are still conducting validation and we want to confirm that one of the the dead suspects was the same Attorney Hannah Cesista,” he said.

“But judging from the information that we have, murag it’s very possible nga siya gud to. Although we want the validation, confirmation,” Pelare added.

ALSO READ: Bohol clash: Lady lawyer among NPA rebels killed in encounter

Cesista, a graduate of a Cebu City university, was said to be a lawyer and a member of the New People’s Army (NPA).

The other fatalities in the Bohol encounter were identified as Domingo Compoc also known as “Kumander Cobra” and “Silong” and the secretary of the NPA unit operating in Bohol;  Parlito Segovia, alias “Aldrin,” the assistant squad leader and political guide of the NPA unit; Marlon Omosura, alias “Darwin,” a squad member; and a certain Juaning.

ALSO READ: ‘Top NPA leader,’ 4 others killed in shootout with law enforcers in Bohol

On the government’s side, Police Corporal Gilbert Amper was killed in the encounter while Police Corporal Gerard Rollon also sustained injuries.

According to Pelare, Cesista was believed to be from Samar while the other fatalities were from Bohol province.

Pelare said that they will be coordinating with Cesista’s family to check on her background and origin.  

The process, he said, would also help them understand why she ended up with the NPA in Bohol.

If proven that Cesista was indeed a lawyer, Pelare said this was proof of the level of deception that the communist group has already adopted.

Pelare said that they also needed to see some documents before the families of the deceased will be able to claim their bodies.

ALSO READ: Bohol encounter: Police on full alert following clash with ‘NPA fighters’

Bohol encounter

The encounter on Friday morning started when local police tried to serve a warrant for the arrest of the five suspected members of the NPA Bohol Party Committee (BPC) led by Compoc in Purok Matinan-ao Dos, Barangay Campagao, Bilar.

Compoc, a native of Bilar town, was also tagged as the squad leader of the remnants of BPC and the former commanding officer of Sandatahang Yunit Pangpropaganda (SYP) Platoon.

Pelare said that the NPA leader has been very evasive and was constantly monitored in Negros and Bohol.

Compoc was also tagged as a most wanted person in Bohol after rebellion, homicide, attempted homicide, multiple murder, frustrated murder, and robbery charges were filed against him.

Based on intelligence information, local police were able to locate Compoc’s group in Purok Matinan-ao Dos.

However, a plan to serve the warrants for their arrest led to a bloody encounter.

ALSO READ: 6 alleged NPA fighters killed in Bohol clash

Hot pursuit

Pelare said that as the Philippine National Police mourn the death of Police Corporal Amper, they will also continue the hot pursuit operation against Compoc’s accomplices who managed to escape from the encounter, in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“We have already intensified our security measures, not only in Bilar but in Bohol and in some parts of Negros to deter any retaliatory actions. Pero sa atong assesment, sa Police Reguonal Office 7, ang CTG or in Negros and Bohol, they are near complete eradication,” he said.

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TAGS: Bilar, bohol, encounter, lawyer, NPA

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