BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – A suspected ranking leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) was arrested in a combined police and military operations in Tanjay City, in Negros Oriental Friday night.
Arrested was a certain “Pediong” or “Nasyo,” secretary of the Southeast Front, Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros of the CPP-NPA, said Maj. Ray Tiongson, spokesman for the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division based in Capiz.
Tiongson said the NPA leader was arrested at around 7:50 p.m. at a checkpoint manned by police officers and Army soldiers in Barangay Tugas.
Former rebels in Negros Oriental who have rejoined the mainstream society said the suspect once led NPA operations in the southeastern part of the island, which resulted in death and injury of innocent civilians and destroyed properties in the area, Tiongson said.
He said authorities seized from the suspect a hand grenade, an ATM card and identification cards bearing different names.
The suspect, who is currently detained at the Tanjay City police station, was reportedly involved in the killing of farmer Narciso Bantoto Jr. in Barangay Tayak in Siaton town early this year.
“This development is certainly a big blow to the CPP-NPA in Negros Oriental as its organizational structure has been dismantled. This is the result of the bayanihan among the people of the province,” said Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, commander of Army’s 302nd Brigade. – With Jaime Laude