Combined elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Intelligence Units, Army’s 1st Infantry Battalion, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested a top leader of the New People’s Army (NPA), a National Democratic Front (NDF) consultant and their three other companions in Barangay Pagsawitan, Sta. Cruz, Laguna Monday afternoon.
According to Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo B. Burgos Jr., commander of the 202nd Infantry (UNIFIER) Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over the area, joint government’s security forces nabbed Edicel R. Legaspi alias “Joventud Del Fierro” and his four companions around 1:30 p.m. while travelling in a Suzuki car towards nearby Pagsanjan town.
Burgos said Legaspi is the secretary of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee, the highest NPA organ in Regions 4-A (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon or Calabarzon) and 4-B (Mindoro Oriental and Occidental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan or Mimaropa).
“Our troops have so far identified his companions as Adelberto Silva, a released NDF (National Democratic Front) consultant and current head of their National Organizing Department (NOD); alias “Oyong”, alias “Wena” and alias “Batu,” all NOD Staffs,” Burgos said.
Lt. Col. Jonathan S. Manio, commander of the 1st Infantry Battalion, said two .45-caliber pistols, four hand grenades, one claymore type Improvised Explosive Device (IED), magazines with ammunition and subversive documents were seized from the group.
“The search of the vehicle was witnessed by the Barangay Officials of Barangay Pagsawitan,” Manio said.
The group was turned over to the custody of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) National Capital Region (NCR) that will be filing the appropriate charges against them.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Rhoderick Parayno, commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, said the arrest has resulted in the leadership vacuum on the part of the NPA terrorists, which will speed-up the process of defeating insurgency in the Southern Tagalog region.
“The government will be unrelenting in our pursuit for peace and prosperity,” vowed Parayno.
“We have been hitting them at all fronts and keeping them on the run, thus, I urge the few remaining members of the NPAs to give up their arms and return to mainstream society because sooner or later we will catch them,” he said.
The arrested rebels will be transferred to the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame where they will be detained. (PNA/Saul Pa-a)