Butuan City—The daughter of Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Eufemia Campos Cullamat was killed in an encounter on Saturday afternoon in the hinterlands of Barangay San Isidro, Marihatag, Surigao del Sur, an Army report said Sunday.
A military spokesman said killed in the encounter with the Army's 3rd Special Forces Battalion was Jevilyn Campos Cullamat, 22, said to be a member of the propaganda unit of Guerrilla Front 19 of the Northeastern Regional Committee of the New People's Army (NPA).
The Army also recovered three AK-47 rifles, one M14 rifle, one M653 5.56 caliber rifle, five backpacks containing war materiel and documents at the encounter site.
“Our troops were conducting security operations after receiving reports from civilians of the presence of armed men in the vicinity of San Isidro,” 1Lt. Krisjuper Andreo J. Punsalan, civil-military operation officer of the 3SFBn said.
He added that the encounter lasted about 45 minutes before the NPA rebels retreated, leaving behind Cullamat's body.
“We already talked to the family this Sunday. The older children of Representative Cullamat were already at the funeral parlor in Barobo, Surigao del Sur and confirmed that the body was their younger sister, Jevilyn,” Punsalan said.
Pursuit operations were still ongoing in the area to track down the remaining rebels, he added.
Punsulan added that former rebels said Cullamat was a student of schools that were influenced by the NPA, including the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) in the area.
In a statement Sunday, 3SFBn commander Lt. Col. Joey Baybayan, said the security operation shed light on the continuing NPA exploitation and recruitment of indigenous peoples (IP) communities in Surigao del Sur.
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Sunday said Benito Tiamzon and his wife, Wilma are still in the country, urging them to surrender three days after a Quezon City court sentenced them in absentia to up to 40 years for kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
“Based on our information, they are not in other countries. We can monitor so it is better for them to surrender,” Año said.
He directed the Philippine National Police to intensify its manhunt against the Tiamzon couple following the Quezon City RTC’s verdict.
Año, who was chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines when the Tiamzons were arrested in March 2014, said he had exerted a lot of effort to capture them.
“I spent half of my career looking for this couple," Año said.
He said the verdict was “a great victory” because the couple owed “so much blood” to the Filipino people, having kidnapped and killed so many people.
On Aug. 15, 2016, the couple was granted bail to join the peace talks between the Philippine government and the NDF, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
The couple remains at large since the same Quezon City court ordered their rearrest in 2018 after President Rodrigo Duterte terminated the peace talks with the communists.
They are also facing multiple murder charges before the Manila RTC over the alleged 1985 purge in Leyte of communist rebels suspected of being military informants, known as the Inopacan massacre.
The complaint stemmed from the discovery of a mass grave in Leyte containing alleged victims of the purge.