FOUR alleged high-ranking officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) were arrested in a joint military and police operation in Sitio Mamposo, Barangay Magballo, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental on Friday, July 10, 2020.
Arrested were Emmylo Cañares, alias Sid and Drey, 38, of South Poblacion, San Fernando, Cebu; George Buga-ay, alias Samantha/Alexa, 42, a resident of Barangay Orong, Kabankalan City; Relyn Moreno, alias Sam, 22, a resident of Barangay Orong, Kabankalan City; and Raffy Patajo alias Paolo, 21, a resident of Sitio Montelo, Barangay Pinggot, Ilog.
The arrest was conducted by the 15th Infantry (Molave Warrior) Battalion of the Philippine Army with the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Negros Occidental.
In a statement, the military said the apprehension was a product of a joint intelligence operation following the July 8 encounter between government troops and rebels in Barangay Pinggot, Ilog, Negros Occidental.
Recovered from their possession were firearms and explosives--a .45 caliber pistol, a .38 caliber revolver loaded with five ammunition, four hand grenades, P24,000 in cash, cellular phones and chargers, USBs, subversive documents and personal belongings.
According to information, Cañares was a former finance officer of the Bohol Party Committee and the secretary of the Second National Urban Center Party Committee. Buga-ay was a former squad leader and finance logistics officer (FLO) of the Regional Strike Forces of Kilusang Rehiyon Negros (KR-N), former secretary-general of PAMALAKAYA Negros and is regional communication (RCOM) of KR-N. Moreno was an RCOM staff member of KR-N; and Raffy Patajo was a former squad FLO of Platoon 3, squad leader of Platoon 2, South West Front and a regional communication staff of KR-N.
“Their arrest is a major setback to the CPP-NPA-NDF terrorists operating in the area of Negros Island and a victory of the government’s anti-terrorism drive. In coordination with the police, there will be more similar operations here in Negros. With the active help of the local populace, the CPP-NPA Terrorist will be suppressed and defeated," Lieutenant Colonel Erwin Cariño, 15th Infantry Battalion commanding officer, said.
Colonel Noel Baluyan, 302nd Infantry (Achiever) Brigade commander, said the arrest of the four rebel officials is a "big blow on the terrorism and exploitation activities of their organization in Negros Island.”
In a statement on Sunday, the New People’s Army-Negros , however, denied the claims of military that they caught alleged high-ranking officials of the CPP-NPA.
"They are not even members of the NPA. These people are but victims of the US-Duterte regime’s intensifying state terrorism, targeting innocent civilians to label as top brass-for-bounty to corrupt and to try and demoralize the revolutionary movement,” Juanito Magbanua, NPA-Negros Regional spokesperson, said.
“NPA-Negros remains to operate in five guerilla fronts in the entire Negros Island. Their focused military operations have only angered the people even more as they only brought terror, hunger and now even the virus in communities who long to be free from exploitation of the landlords and big compradors," Magabanua said.