MANILA — Rebel leader Leonardo Pitao was killed in an encounter on Sunday afternoon in Pacquibato district in Davao City, according to the military.
Maj. Gen. Eduardo Ano, commander of the 10th Infantry Division said in an interview for the Philippine Daily Inquirer that two rebels were slain during the encounter and one of them was positively identified as Pitao.
“This was a series of encounters from two weeks ago, this is the fourth one. Our target was only Commander Parago as we were serving 17 warrants against him,” Ano said as quoted in the report written by Julie M. Aurelio
A joint operating team from the 6th Scout Ranger company, the 69th Infantry Battalion, intelligence units and infantry units of the 10th Infantry Division killed Pitao in Barangay Panyalom.
He was the leader of the New People’s Army’s Pulang Bagani Command in Southern Mindanao and was known for having the toughest unit in the region.
“He is the equivalent of Tirso Alcantara of Luzon, that is his image,” Ano said.
He was referring to the commander of the Regional Operational Command of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee who was arrested in 2011.
He added that Ano’s unit operates in the mountain areas of Davao and was behind the kidnapping of Brig. Gen. Victor Obillo, commander of the 55th Engineering Brigade.
The military official said that Ano’s death may be the beginning of the setbacks of NPA units in Davao.
“He is somewhat an idol of the NPA here, now that the law has caught up with him, this is a major setback and is going to be the fall of the NPA in the Davao region,” the military official said.