Authorities: ‘Most wanted’ NPA leader in Central Luzon arrested in Pampanga

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 05 2020 05:08 PM

Authorities: ‘Most wanted’ NPA leader in Central Luzon arrested in Pampanga 1
Photo courtesy of Gracie Rutao

MANILA — Authorities arrested in Mexico town, Pampanga a man alleged to be a high-ranking member of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Central Luzon, the military said Saturday. 

In a statement, the military said the joint operations between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Pampanga led to the arrest of Jose Bernardino (alias Oyin) on Friday morning, 

Bernardino was allegedly an NPA Secretary of Central Luzon’s Regional White Area Committee, the statement added.

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Bernardino has a warrant of arrest for the crime of rebellion, issued by presiding Judge Paul Attolba Jr. of Bangbang, Nueva Ecija’s regional trial court.

There was also “little resistance” during his arrest, said PBGEN Valeriano De Leon, director of Police Regional Office 3. 

“Matagal din ito na minamanan at nakakuha nga tayo ng impormante at saka nakakuha rin tayo ng pagkakakilanlan sa kanya at mga activities niya at mga kasamahan niya na ngayon ay nanunungkulan na sa gobyerno,” De Leon said. 

(He was surveilled for a long while, and we got information confirming his identity and his activities. The people he used to work with are now working with the government.)

Bernardino, who had a P4.7-million bounty on him, was also on the most wanted list of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“[He] is at the forefront of extortion, labor organizing and youth recruitment in Region 3’s urban areas,” Maj. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division said. 

The military said an informant led to the discovery of the NPA leader’s whereabouts. The informant would get the reward money.

Authorities recovered a Cal. 45 pistol, a hand grenade, an NPA flag, and documents with “high intelligence value,” and his other personal belongings.

He will also be charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

The arrested NPA leader was among the suspects in the killings of 4 soldiers during an encounter in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya in September 2017, according to authorities.

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— Report from Gracie Rutao