BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Four suspected leaders of the New People’s Army were arrested by the combined forces of the Philippine Army and National Police in Sitio Mamposo, Brgy. Magballo, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, Friday.
Lt. Col. Erwin Cariño, 15th Infantry Battalion commander, yesterday said that the arrest of the four NPA leaders yielded four hand grenades, a .45 caliber pistol with a magazine containing seven ammunition, a .38 caliber revolver with five ammunition, P119,354 in cash, 26 cellular phones with chargers, assorted medicines, USBs and subversive documents.
Nabbed were Emmylo Cañares, with the aliases of Sid and Drey, alleged secretary of the Cebu Party Committee; George Buga-ay of Brgy. Punta Taytay, Bacolod City, claimed by authorities to be the Finance and Logistic officer of the Komiteng Rehiyonal- Negros Regional Strike Force; and Relyn Moreno of Brgy. Orong, Kabankalan City, political instructor and former member of the NPA Special Partisan Unit and Raffy Patajo, alias Paolo, of Brgy. Pinggot, Ilog, who are also both staff members of KR-Negros Regional Communication Bureau.
Carino reported that Buga-ay, 42, with the alias of Samantha Alexa, served as former secretary general of the fisherman group PAMALAKAYA, while Cañares, a resident of San Fernando, Cebu, was also tagged by the police as secretary of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros-Cebu-Bohol-Siquijor Regional Communication and former finance chief of the Bohol Party Committee, and Patajo as squad leader of South West Front platoon 2.
He also said that the arrest of the four NPA leaders was a product of a joint intelligence operation, following an encounter between government forces and NPA rebels on July 8 in Brgy. Pinggot, Ilog, Negros Occidental.
Col. Noel Baluyan, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, who supervises the 15th and 11th Infantry Battalions in southern Negros, said the arrest of the ranking rebel leaders is a big blow on the terrorism and exploitation activities of the New People’s Army in Negros Island.
Brig. Gen. Rene Pamuspusan, regional police director of Western Visayas, also credited the arrest of the suspected NPA leaders to the vigilance of the community in Brgy. Magballo, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.
All the arrested suspects will be charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, Cariño said.*