DAVAO CITY – Laak town Mayor Reynaldo Navarro was declared dead-on-arrival in a private hospital after his convoy was attacked this morning in Asuncion, Davao del Norte.

According to Janice Ollave, the municipal information officer of Laak, Navarro was with two bodyguards in a Mitsubishi Montero and four more guards in a pick-up when ambushed at Kilometre 9, Barangay Sagayen, Asuncion, Davao del Norte at around 8:30 to 9 am.

Navarro was immediately rushed to the Tagum Doctors Hospital but was declared “dead-on-arrival” by attending doctors.

“The Mayor is dead, the doctors failed to save him,” said Ollave in a text message to Davao Today.

In an interview, Captain Ernest Carolina, deputy public affairs officer of the 10thInfantry Division of the Philippine Army said they suspect New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas as among its suspects.

Carolina said two of the attackers were also killed but they have yet to “verify” it.

Navarro was earlier named by Ka Aris Francisco of the NPA as part of a group of government officials and police officers allegedly the “big 4 (four) loggers” in Compostela Valley.

The NPA also captured and later released two Army troopers as part of their so-called “log ban policy” and accused several army battalions as either “involved” or are “protectors” of the logging operation of the “big 4.”

In news reports Navarro has since denied the accusation saying it is “mere propaganda” and that Laak is just a “transit point.”

In response, the NPA emailed videos allegedly taken in Barangay Ampawid and Andap in Laak, of logs lying around dirt roads and loaded in trucks.

Carolina said Army troopers of the 60th Infantry Battalion and Police Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) are already in the area to investigation the incident. (with reports from Mart T. Sambalud/davaotoday.com)

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