Suspected ‘high-ranking’ rebel captured in Surigao City

A SUSPECTED high-ranking officer of the New People’s Army (NPA) was arrested in a government checkpoint in Surigao City, Wednesday afternoon, July 5, said an army official.

“We have arrested an alleged high ranking leader of the NPA Guerilla Front 16 (GF16),” said 2nd Lieutenant Jonel Castillo, Civil Military Operation Officer of the 30th Infantry Battalion (IB) based in Surigao del Norte.

The army identified Arpel Rabago, also known as Ka Yoyo, vice commander of an NPA platoon under GF16, which is operating in Surigao del Norte.

“His arrest was under the virtue of an arrest warrant issued by Surigao City Judicial Branch Court for cases of multiple attempted murder and frustrated murder,” Castillo said.

A report by the PNP said the alleged ranking rebel was arrested at the Armed Forces of the Philippines/PNP checkpoint along Km. 14, Trinidad village, in the said city, around 5 p.m.

The rebel is wanted by authorities for frustrated murder, multiple attempted murder, kidnapping, and serious illegal detention.

“Ka Yoyo is responsible for the series of harassment and extortion in certain parts of the province. He led numerous attacks against government troops who are conducting peace and development activities in the towns of Malimono, San Francisco and Surigao City during the previous years,” Castillo said.

But a rebel from the NPA’s GF16 dismissed the claims of the 30IB, pointing out that Rabao left the revolutionary movement years ago.

“Ka Yoyo, left the NPA back in October of 2014 for various personal reasons. The person was not even a ranking official as what the army has claimed. He is not a so called vice commander, but he was just a squad leader within the GF16-B. After Rabago left the NPA, we heard that he went to Manila and then when he returned to his home in Sitio Upper Sangay in Barangay Anomar, he had several issues in the community related to his drinking habits,” said Ka Oto, spokesperson of the NPA’s GF16.

Ka Oto added the military may have fabricated the rank of Rabago to insinuate a "bigger price on his (Rabago) the head".

"I don’t even know if the said arrest or capture is really true or we are made to believe that he was captured. Rabago has been living with the people in his community for several months and people are complaining on his drinking habit. He might have struck a deal with the authorities, so it is really hard to just take in these claims,” the rebel leader said.


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