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Soldier linked to slay of rebel leader’s daughter killed

TAGUM CITY, Philippines—A soldier implicated in the 2009 abduction, torture and murder of Rebelyn Pitao, daughter of rebel leader Leoncio Pitao, was shot dead by suspected communist rebels in a village on the outskirts of Davao City early Thursday, the military said.

Cpl. Winnie Carampatana died from multiple gunshot wounds after being attacked by three New People’s Army guerrillas before his two children and a nephew in Poblacion Malabog, Paquibato district, Davao City around 6:30 a.m., according to Maj. Jacob Obligado, civil military operations chief of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division.

“He was off-duty when shot by three NPA rebels…. Two acted as the gunmen while the third drove the motorcycle the assailants used in the attack,” said Obligado.

Carampatana was identified as one of the 13 soldiers allegedly responsible for the death of 20-year-old Rebelyn, whose body was found in an irrigation canal in Carmen town in Davao del Norte on March 5, 2009.

Carampana denied involvement in the killing in a public inquiry called by the Commission on Human Rights in Davao City a month after Rebelyn’s killing. Asked by then CHR chair and now Justice Secretary Leila de Lima about his knowledge of the young teacher’s death, Carampatana said he was restricted to camp the day the body of Parago’s daughter was found.

Carampatana was the second suspect in the Rebelyn case to be killed by suspected NPA rebels. In October 2009, or seven months after her murder, Cpl. Orly Pedregosa was also gunned down by suspected communist rebels in Paquibato district.

“The killing showed the NPA’s wanton violation of human rights…. It’s very clear that the NPA are no less than criminals. They are bandits of peace,” said Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the army’s 10th Infantry Division.

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