BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
An alleged New People’s Army hitman and two others were arrested in joint operations of the police and 94th Infantry Battalion on March 1 and yesterday, respectively, in barangays San Antonio and Caradio-an, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
But a top ranking NPA leader in Negros island, identified as Romeo Nanta, alias Juaning Magbanua, who has pending arrest warrants for homicide, and Eustiquio Manait, alias ka Chyo, managed to escape, during the raid on a suspected rebel safehouse in Sitio Catoltolan, Brgy. San Antonio, Himamaylan City, P/Maj. Romeo Vargas, city police chief, said.
Nabbed during the raid were Salvador Carpentero, an alleged rebel courier, who yielded a .38 caliber revolver with six ammunition, and Jillian Delfin, and a hand grenade was seized from her possession, Vargas added.
Also recovered were assorted medicines, 15 cellular phones, three chargers, ten 1.5-volt batteries, nine flash drives, and two flashlights.
Vargas said that Delfin, 31, was allegedly a member of the regional educational staff of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros-Cebu-Bohol-Siquior.
Nanta, who is the regional commander of the NPA in Negros Island, and Manait, managed to escape minutes before the raiding troops arrived at about 5 a.m. yesterday, he added.
Also nabbed on March 1 in Sitio Cantupa, Brgy. Buenavista, Himamaylan City, was Warren Losano, alias Whiskey.
Verification from the 94IB showed that Losano is also a member of the Sentro De Grabidad platoon 3, Regional Strike Force of the Kilusang Rehiyon-Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor, aside from being a hitman of the NPA, Vargas said.
The apprehension of Losano yielded a .45 Colt caliber pistol with a magazine containing six ammunition and a black sock containing two cartridges of an M203 grenade launcher. Carpentero, Delfin, and Losano are now detained at the Himamaylan City police headquarters, pending the filing of charges against them for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.*