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Leoncio Pitao, aka 'Commander Parago' killed in Davao Army operation

 • 05:54 AM Mon Jun 29, 2015
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Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA
Leonardo Pitao aka Commander Parago in media interview. (Photo by durianburgdavao.wordpress.com)

MANILA - Troopers from the 10th Infantry Division have killed a ranking New People's Army (NPA) leader and another rebel during an encounter in Purok 9, Barangay Panyalom, Pacquibato District, Davao City Saturday afternoon.The clash took place at 2:30 p.m., 10th Infantry Division commander Major Gen. Eduardo Ano said.He identified the slain rebel leader as Cmdr Parago or Leoncio Pitao, commander of the NPA's Pulang Bagani Command.Killed with him was a still unidentified NPA fighter. Recovered from the scene of the clash were two M-16 automatic rifles and three rifle grenades.Ano said their task group cornered Pitao with only 10 of his security and command personnel.He added that a much larger NPA force was lagging between the group of the slain rebel leader at the time of the encounter.Ano said the encounter with the smaller rebel force lasted for 25 minutes and ended with Pitao and another rebel dead.He added that the operation against the rebel leader started two weeks ago.The objective of the operation was to serve 17 arrest warrants against against Pitao.Ano said that the body was positively identified as those of the slain rebel commander.The 10th Infantry Division stressed that the killing of Pitao is a major blow to the rebel movement in the Davao Region as the Pulang Bagani Command is the toughest and strongest NPA force in the locality.It's strength is placed at around 600 to 700 guerillas.Pitao gained notoriety in the area for frequent ambush operations and other atrocities aside from the kidnapping of Brig. Gen. Victor Obillo, then the commander of the 55th Engineering and Construction Brigade in February 2006. He carries a P10-million bounty on his head. The P5 million reward was offered by the military in 2010 while another P5 million was put upby then House Speaker Prospero Nograles.(PNA)

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