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Pinay Lawyer among 5 NPA Rebels Killed in Bohol Gunbattle

BILAR, Bohol – A lawyer who allegedly joined the New People’s Army (NPA) was among the five communist rebels killed in a firefight with government forces in Barangay Campagao, Bilar town on Friday morning, February 23, 2024.

The Bohol Police Provincial Office (BPPO) identified the slain lawyer as Atty. Hannah Jay Cesista, also known by her aliases Maya and Lean. 

A member of Anakbayan Cebu, she was reportedly a squad leader of the remnants of the Bohol Party Committee (BPC) and the former commanding officer of the propaganda unit of the NPA.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Norman Nuiz, spokesperson of the BPPO, the joint operation of the police and the military was intended to serve a warrant of arrest against Domingo Compoc alyas Commander Cobra, who was wanted for various crimes such as rebellion, homicide, attempted homicide, multiple murder, frustrated murder, and robbery.

However, the rebels resisted arrest and engaged the law enforcers in a gun battle that lasted for about 30 minutes. Aside from Cesista, four other NPA members were also killed in the encounter. They were identified as Aldrin, Darwin, Maya, and Juaning.

One police officer, Corporal Gilbert Amper, was also killed in the clash, while another one, Corporal Gerard Rollon, was wounded. They were both brought to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Nuiz said that Compoc had a bounty of P2.6 million on his head and was considered as a top leader of the NPA in Bohol. He added that the operation was a major blow to the communist insurgency in the province, which has been declared as insurgency-free since 2010.

The authorities recovered several firearms, ammunition, explosives, and subversive documents from the scene of the encounter. They also evacuated the residents of the barangay to a safe place.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which has been waging a protracted guerrilla war against the government since 1969. 

The NPA is considered as a terrorist organization by the Philippines, the United States, the European Union, Japan, and New Zealand.