NPA attempts to rescue arrested leader

NEGROS Occidental Police Office (Noppo) chief Celestino Guara said the New People's Army (NPA) rebels attempted to rescue their top leader including other rebel members who were nabbed in Barangay Dancalan, Ilog last week.

The rebels were arrested during a checkpoint in the said barangay in relation to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gun ban.

Arrested were rebel leader Reniel Cellon and wife, Mary Jane Magquilat; and four rebel members identified as Jose Sonny Boy Ditomal, 41; Rodrigo Maricasa, 49; Antonio Estaniel, 51; and Edson Gonzales, 20.

Last Monday, additional charges for violation of the Comelec gun ban were filed before the Kabankalan Regional Trial Court against the arrested NPA rebels.

Police recovered a .45 caliber pistol, owned by the slain PFC John Ilisan; a fragmentation grenade owned by NPA commander Cellon; and a.22 pistol which was seized from Magquilat.

Guara said the Philippine National Police (PNP), the military, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) are on alert and may augment forces in Ilog where the alleged NPA leader and hid companions are detained.

Guara stressed that they are prepared against such rescue attempts and plans of the NPA to rescue their leader and comrades.

Cellon, commander of the Sentro De Grabida Platoon of the NPA South West Front Committee, was linked by the military to numerous incidents of liquidation in southern Negros which victimized Ilisan, former rebels, and paramilitary troopers.

Also recovered in Cellon’s vehicle were rifle grenade, hundreds of live ammunition for an M-16 armalite rifle and carbine, subversive documents and assorted food.

The Kabankalan RTC has recommended P12,000 as bail for each count of violation of the Comelec gun ban against the suspects.

Aside from the gun ban charges, Cellon and Magquilat are also facing charges for murder, which are non-bailable offenses, and frustrated murder.
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