Alleged killer of Agusan Sur town mayor slain in Butuan

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 6 February) – The alleged communist rebel who reportedly planned the kidnapping and murder of a town mayor in Agusan del Sur and his son in 2015 was killed in a joint military and police operation on Wednesday morning, Feb. 5.

Lumads view a tarp showing the corpse of Loreto town Mayor Dario Otaza during an anti-communist rally in Butuan City on Oct. 27, 2015. MIndaNews file photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Maj. Francisco Garello Jr., civil military officer of the 402nd Infantry Brigade, said Manuel G. Magante alias Jino/Saldo was killed when he reportedly tried to shoot it out with the operatives who came to his rented room in Rosales St., Brgy 15, San Ignacio, Butuan City.

Garello said the operatives came to arrest Magante on the strength of warrants for homicide and robbery issued by Executive Judge Hilarion P. Clapis Jr. of the11th Judicial Region, Branch 3, Nabunturan, Davao de Oro.

He said recovered from the scene was the caliber .45 pistol Magante allegedly used in the brief gun battle.

The military said the slain rebel was allegedly the finance officer of the NPA Regional Operations Command and Special Operations Group of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee.

Magante allegedly planned the abduction and murder of Loreto town Mayor Dario Otaza and his son, Daryl, whose bodies were found a day after they were abducted in Butuan City on Nov. 20, 2015.

The New People’s Army Southern Mindanao Regional Command owned responsibility for the killings.

“Revolutionary justice prevailed when the Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army authorized the imposition of a Standing Order and punished warlords GPH mayor Dario Otaza and Daryl Otaza,” the NPA said in a statement on Nov. 25, 2015.

Otaza was known for his anti-communist stance in his municipality.

Aside from the Otaza murders, Garello further alleged that Magante participated in the NPA raid on the mining compound of Mayor Joselito Brillantes Jr. in Brgy Olaycon, Monkayo, Davao de Oro that netted 74 assorted high-powered firearms in 2015; disarming of the peace and order personnel of Brgy Mahungcog, Magpet, North Cotabato in 2016; synchronized attack of Lorenzo residence in Calinan, Davao City; and burning of Lapanday Corp. Plastic Plant in Mandug, Davao City in 2017. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)