A former New People’s Army leader was sentenced to reclusion perpetua, or 40 years imprisonment, by Negros Oriental Regional Trial Court Branch 32 Judge Roderick Maxino, for the murder of a civilian in Siaton town three years ago.
Army 1Lt. Lito Orbita, chief of the 79th Infantry Battalion Civil Military Operations based in Brgy. 4, Siaton, Negros Oriental, said Maxino found Calixto Vistal, alias Cocoy, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of killing Basilio Casido on May 7, 2009 in Brgy. Tayak, Siaton, Negros Oriental.
A military press release said Casido was summarily executed by Vistal and his companions while a barangay session was being held.
Judge Maxino ordered Vistal to pay the heirs of the victim P100,000 in civil indemnity and moral damages.
Orbita said members of the Casido family, who attended the case promulgation Friday, broke down and cried when as they heard the decision of the judge, and said justice was finally served to them.
Orbita said the conviction of Vistal was an enormous blow to the already depleted strength of the NPA in southern Negros Oriental.
Military records show that Vistal led the NPA in several violent actions in Bohol, the raid of a police outpost, and an encounter with the Army’s elite Special Forces troopers, that resulted in the death of 2Lt. Socrates Que and some of his men in 2000.
When Bohol was declared insurgency-free by the military, Vistal was tasked to command an NPA unit in southeastern Negros, and his wife, Jimmyliza Badayos, served as head of the regional party technical head, the military said.
Vistal and his wife were arrested October last year in Mandaue City, Cebu, it added.*GPB
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