COMBINED police and Army troops on Monday captured a heavily-armed top New People’s Army leader and two of his comrades during an operation in Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental, Police Regional Office 6 director, Brigadier General John C. Bulalacao announced yesterday.
The official identified the captured suspects as Abraham Villanueva alias ‘Ka Tikboy/Gamay,’ said to be the front secretary of the NPA South West Front or the NPA band operating in Candoni-Hinoba-an-Ilog,Cauayan-Kabankalan-Sipalay (CHICKS area); Rona Degoso alias ‘Ka Cheche,’ an 18-year old resident of Barangay Asia, Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental and Jomar Reyes alias ‘Ka Tiny,’28, a resident of Bgy. Camansi, also in Kabankalan City,
Bulalacao said that members of the Army’s 15th Infantry Battalion, the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 6,604th Regional Mobile Force Company and the Kabankalan City Police Station arrested the three while checking the presence of armed NPA regulars in Sitio Amian Ilawod in Bgy. Tampalon at 9:20 p.m. Monday.
He said that the suspects were wearing black NPA sweatshirts printed with PKP or Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas @50 logos and black jogging pants when arrested. Recovered from their possession were one caliber .45 pistol, a magazine with five live ammunition and three hand grenades.
Bulalacao said that shortly after the three were arrested, Army soldiers led by 1Lt. Lloddi Manuel Estrella encountered around 20 NPA guerrillas in Bgy. Tampalon about 5:50 a.m. yesterday.
He said that the leftist gunmen withdrew towards the direction of nearby Sitio Amian Ilawod leaving behind one M-16 automatic rifle, one M-16 magazine, 175 rounds of 7.62 live ammunition, 20 M-16 bullets, 21 AK-47 ammunition, two cellphones, one Smart phone, a tablet with charger, one Netbook, one laptop storage device, a transistor radio, a binocular, a medical kit, a blood pressure apparatus and a number of documents including a list of suspected NPA extortion targets.
Bulalacao said that no casualty was reported on the Army side.
He said that Villanueva has a standing warrant of arrest for arson and frustrated murder with no bail recommended. The Western Visayas police director said that Degoso was identified as an NPA finance and logistics officer while Reyes is a member of a local NPA platoon.
The capture of the three came amid repors that an Army soldier identified as Corporal Ryan Quibedo was wounded during a clash with NPA guerrillas in Sitio Santos, Bgy. Quintin Remo in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental past 7 p.m. last Monday. Reports said at least five suspected NPA guerrillas, one of them identified as a certain Ariel Marquez, were killed during the gunbattle.
Recovered at the scene of the heavy fighting were three improvised explosive devices, two AK-47 magazines, one live M203 ammunition, two backpacks containing personal belongings, assorted foodstuff and documents said to be of high-intelligence value, one damaged M-16 upper receiver, a 300 meter-long electrical wire being used to detonate IEDs, six blasting capts with wires and batteries and an electronic tester.