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Filipino Rebels, Ignoring Aquino's Cease-Fire, Kill 11 in Ambush

January 03, 1988|From Times Wire Services

MANILA — Communist rebels, ignoring a New Year's cease-fire declared by President Corazon Aquino, ambushed a military truck and killed 11 people--six soldiers and five civilians--during a surge of violence over the holiday, the military said Saturday.

Also Saturday, a police officer and two regional candidates were shot dead in separate incidents--bringing to 21 the number of candidates slain since campaigning began Dec. 1 for the Jan. 18 elections.

Aquino had declared a two-day holiday truce that directed the 159,000-member armed forces to hold back attacks against the 23,000-member Communist New People's Army from midnight Wednesday to midnight Friday.

It followed a two-day Christmas cease-fire declared by both sides in which eight security forces died in rebel attacks. The year was one of the bloodiest of the 19-year insurgency; more than 3,600 casualties were reported in 1987.

The rebels failed to match the government's New Year's truce offer but said in a statement circulated to news agencies that the rebel fighters were taking a defensive posture.

Brig. Gen. Felix Brawner said the truck ambush occurred New Year's Eve, as the vehicle approached the remote mountain town of San Mariano in Isabela province to pick up a sick soldier.

The town, 175 miles northeast of Manila, is in the foothills of the Sierra Madre, a mountain stronghold of the New People's Army.

About 40 heavily armed guerrillas, including at least five women, attacked the truck. The civilians killed were five hitchhikers who had caught a ride.

One civilian and four soldiers were wounded, the report said. The rebels fled after a brief battle with reinforcements rushed to the site.

On Negros Island, gunmen killed Gabriel Hinolan, a pro-Aquino town council candidate, as he was about to speak at a campaign rally in Escalante.

On Mindanao Island, police said Inocencio Feras, opposition mayoral candidate in the town of Roxas, was killed by a gunman. Feras, the former mayor, was running under the banner of the rightist New Society Movement.

In Bacolod City on Negros, police detective Oscar Flor was shot dead in front of a movie theater.

Officials said they were unsure whether the assailants in these cases were Communist rebels.

Vice President Salvador Laurel called for a postponement of local elections in areas where "people are not free to vote" because of strong rebel influence.

Military reports reaching Manila said 12 people, including a town mayor, were killed in seven incidents Thursday and Friday on Samar and Mindanao islands.

The Philippine Constabulary said three Communist guerrillas shot dead a military intelligence agent in the Samar town of Catarman on Thursday, triggering a battle by police and soldiers. Two rebels were killed along with a 14-year-old boy caught in crossfire.

Another report said Pacifico Ocapan, acting mayor of the town of San Miguel in Mindanao's Zamboanga del Sur province, was shot dead by a lone assailant Friday as he watched a cockfight.

The other slayings included two police officers, two soldiers, two militiamen and a civilian killed in ambushes in Mindanao.

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