Troops arrest 2 ranking NPA leaders

ZAMBOANGA CITY — Joint military and police operatives have arrested two ranking leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the province of Zamboanga del Sur, military officials said Monday.

Brig. Gen. Roseller Murillo, Army’s 1st Infantry Division commander, identified them as Leonardo Jacotin and Rosario Tabanao.

Murillo said they were arrested by virtue of serving warrants of arrest around 9:45 p.m. Saturday in Barangay Balangasan, Pagadian City.

The arrest of Jacotin and Tabanao came on the heels of the announcement of President Rodrigo Duterte to include the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in the list of terrorists.

Murillo said Jacotin is the logistic chief and head of the Ordnance and Explosives of the NPA’s Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) while Tabanao is an executive commission member of the WMRPC and a finance officer.

He said Jacotin and Tabanao have standing warrants of arrest for their involvement in large-scale extortion activities and dealing of firearms and explosives as well as series of murder cases.

He said the arresting team seized from the possession of the two a caliber .45 pistol with eight ammunition; 50 rounds of ammunition for AK-47 assault rifle; a grenade; 10 identification cards; and, 17 units of cellular phones.

He said they were turned over to the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) for appropriate legal procedures.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, said they will continue to collaborate with the police in the conduct of law enforcement operation to ensure defeat of the CPP-NFA-NDF here in Western Mindanao.

“The CPP/NPA terrorists have no place here in Western Mindanao. They extort money even from poor people and burn commercial establishments and construction equipment if their demands are not met,” Galvez said. Teofilo Garcia, Jr/