LEGAZPI CITY, April 3 (PNA) -- Buyers and sellers at the public market in Barangay Pating, Masbate City scampered to safety when two Philippine Army soldiers who belong to the Special Task Force Masbate and three suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) Sparu unit encountered at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Wounded were Sgt. Rico S. Amaro, 34, and Roland F. Espineda, also known as Marvin Espineda, reportedly an NPA member.
Amaro and Cpl. Jason D. Cortes were buying provisions in the market when they met armed rebels Espineda, 26, Ronnie Barruga, 39, and Marvin R. Letada -- all residents of Barangay Lahong, San Fernando, Masbate.
The two groups exchanged fire, resulting in the wounding of Amaro and Espineda.
Masbate Ciy Police Station men immediately responded, leading to the arrest of escaping Barruga while Letada made good his escape.
The MCPS officers recovered one .45-caliber pistol with magazine loaded with two live bullets from Espineda and a fragmentation hand grenade from Barruga.
The also found four fired cartridges at the clash scene.
Amaro and Espineda are now recuperating at the Masbate Provincial Hospital.
Meanwhile, three armed men shot dead one Ricky Marinas, 30 and resident of Barangay Del Rosario, Pilar, Sorsogon, at about 9 p.m. Saturday in Barangay Cagbacong, an upland village in the southern part of Legazpi City where NPA rebels usually pass while going to Sorsogon province from Albay. (PNA) SCS/FGS/JH/CBD/PJN