BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
After more than 11 years of hiding from authorities, the long arm of the law finally caught up with one of the suspects allegedly behind the ambush of civilians in Toboso, Negros Occidental, in 2009.
The alleged amazon, identified as Ruffa Baynosa, alias Ka Reniel, was apprehended by the police and 79th Infantry Battalion soldiers in Hacienda Ambulong, Brgy. San Fernando, Talisay City, Negros Occidental on Thursday.
1Lt. Norman Sorila, 79IB Civil Military Operations officer, said Baynosa has pending arrest warrants for three counts of murder and five counts of frustrated murder, issued by San Carlos Regional Trial Court Judge Rita Bascos Sarabia.
Sorila said Baynosa was among the 20 armed NPA rebels, who ambushed civilians riding a utility truck in Purok Mabuhay, Brgy. Salamanca, Toboso, on July 13, 2009, and the incident claimed the lives of three civilians and injured three others.
He said Baynosa entered the house of Marilyn Dianton in the hacienda a day after suspected NPA rebels abandoned a two-month-old infant while fleeing from Army soldiers, who responded to reports from civilians on the presence of armed men in their community.
The identity of Baynosa was later established after she was subjected to questioning by the police.
Col. Michael Samson, acting commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, said yesterday that they are not ruling out the possibility that Baynosa is the mother of the abandoned baby, who is now under the custody of the Talisay City Social Welfare and Development Office.
Lt. Col. Gerard Alvaran, 79th IB commanding officer, commended personnel of the Talisay City Police Station, led by Maj. Jigger Gimeno, for their perseverance and commitment that led to the apprehension of the rebel fugitive.
The Army in Negros Occidental also encouraged remnants of the NPA to return to the mainstream society and avail of programs being offered by the government.
If they will continue to stay in the revolutionary armed struggle, Samson warned them yesterday of intensified and relentless combat operations of the Philippine Army.
“We don’t want armed groups to roam around in our communities and intimidate the daily way of living of the people,” Samson, who led the three Army battalion commanders in paying a courtesy call on Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday at the Capitol, said.
Samson said they remain on the right track in accomplishing tasks given to them, including the dismantling of NPA guerilla fronts, although they are not fast-tracking it.
“We are more on quality and effectiveness in addressing the peace and order situation, by working hand-in-hand with the Philippine National Police and other stakeholders, and government agencies,” he added.
Samson said they will continue to employ all efforts in addressing the problem, as supervised by the Task Force ELCAC or Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict, where local government units also play a vital role.
“Hopefully, we can have great strides in these efforts,” he added. Samson added that the 303rd IB is committed to pursue peace and development in Negros.*