(UPDATED) - Police said they arrested on Thursday, February 1, an alleged high-ranking official of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Ozamiz City.

Northern Mindanao police spokesperson Superintendent Lemuel Gonda said Rommel Dorango Salinas, secretary of the CPP, was arrested in a joint military police operation in Barangay Aguada, Ozamiz City around 11 a.m. on Thursday.

He said Salinas has a standing arrest warrant for frustrated murder and destructive arson issued by the Surigao City Regional Trial Court on October 21.

Left-leaning human rights watchdog Karapatan said, however, that Salinas was arrested in May 2017 yet.

"Ipapaalala lang po namin sa authorities na inaresto n'yo na po si Rommel Salinas na NDFP consultant last May 11, 2017 together with Bishop Carlos Morales, his wife and his driver. So ano ito? Bolahan na lang, gaguhan na lang. Pasensya na ha. We are very sure that this person is a victim of illegal arrest," Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

Salinas was reportedly arrested in May 2017 at a checkpoint in Barangay Gango, Ozamiz City, where police said they recovered from him an MK2 hand grenade, knife, communication gadgets, a map and P80,000 cash.

The National Union of People’s Lawyer said the police’s press statement gave the impression that Salinas was arrested only yesterday.

“Police Chief Superintendent Timoteo Pacleb, regional director of Police Regional Office 10, commended the operating personnel for the arrest of Rommel Salinas during the implementation of LIO manhunt Charlie and enhanced managing police operation. Furthermore, RD encouraged all personnel of the PRO 10 to continue its unwavering efforts to eradicate all forms of criminality in the regions and keep on reinvigorating its anti-criminality campaign,” the police’s statement reads.

Government is conducting a crackdown against the communist rebels following the termination of the peace talks.

On Wednesday, January 31, police arrested National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Rafael Baylosis and alleged New People's Army member Guillermo Roque in Quezon City over charges of illegal possession of firearms.

Their arrest came more than a month after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the termination of the peace talks due to the continued attacks made by the NPA, CPP's armed wing, against the government forces amid the talks.

Duterte also tagged the CPP-NPA as terrorists. (SunStar Philippines)