MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Army and communist rebels are accusing each other of being behind the beheading of a village official in Albay.
The Army's 9th Infantry Division, in a press statement, said New People's Army (NPA) rebels beheaded barangay kagawad Ely Oguis in Guinobatan town, Albay on Monday morning.
The military said barangay officials reported the incident to an Army Peace and Development Team.
"We condemn the brutal beheading of Brgy Kagawad Oguis by the NPA," said Col. Ricardo Visaya, commander of the 901st Brigade based in Daraga, Albay. "While he was working hard for a living for his family, the NPA rebels were extorting money from him."
He said the report came after government troops were fired upon by suspected NPA rebels in the barangay on Sunday. No one was hurt during the attack.
Initial investigation revealed that the victim had 6 gunshot wounds in his body, the military said. Police are investigating the case.
"In coordination with the PNP, we have dispatched soldiers to track down the perpetrators," said Lt. Col. Audrey Pasia, commanding officer of the 2nd Infantry Battalion based in Ligao City, Albay.
He said the government will help Oguis family in filing cases against perpetrators.
NDF: Military killed Oguis
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), on the other hand, denied that NPA rebels were behind the murder.
Greg Bañares, spokesman of NDFP Bicol, accused the Army of beheading Oguis.
"Mariing kinukundena ng NDFP-Bicol ang brutal at di-makataong pagpapahirap at pagpaslang ng berdugong 2nd IBPA kay Bgy. Kgd. Ely Oguis ng Bgy. Cabaluaon, Guinobatan, Albay nitong Nob. 11 ng gabi," he said in a press statement.
"Tinanggalan ito ng mga tenga, pinugutan ng ulo, at ibinaon sa putik ang ulo. Bago ang pamamaslang ay kainuman ito ng mga sundalo ng 2nd IBPA," he claimed.
"Kinukundena rin ng NDFP-Bicol ang paglulubid ng kasingungalingan ni Maj. Narzan Obuyes upang pagtakpan ang kanilang krimen at ibintang sa BHB ang pangyayari," Bañares said. "Walang naganap na engkwentro noong gabing paslangin si Oguis at ang mga putok na narinig ay ang pamamaril ng militar kay Oguis. Walang yunit ng BHB na umatake sa tropa ng militar."