New raps vs nabbed rebel

POLICE filed additional charges against a communist rebel, believed to be second in command of the New People's Army (NPA)'s Pulang Bagani Command- Southern Mindanao Regional Command (PBC 1-SMRC), and three other suspects who were arrested in Calinan on Tuesday for possession of loose firearms and explosives.

Facing charges before the City Prosecutors Office (CPO) are Christopher Rollon, alias Joel, alleged commander of the NPA rebel, 28, and a resident of Barangay Sawangan, Mawab town in Compostella Valley, Ranie Sacaries Ninal, 44, habal-habal driver, of Barangay Durian, San Fernando town in Bukidnon, Mike Berdin Capito, 27, of Barangay Kitaotao in Bukidnon, and Alexander Bartolome, 30, of Barangay Ula in Tugbok District.

Davao City Police Office (DCPO) spokesperson Senior Inspector Milgrace Driz said Rollon was arrested by the virtue of the warrants of arrest issued by the court for robbery and murder crimes.

"We received an information from the 34th Infantry Battalion (IB) on the sightings of these personalities in Calinan, Davao City na may mga standing na warrants," Driz told reporters during Wednesday's AFP-PNP press conference held at The Royal Mandaya Hotel.

A checkpoint was then established by the joint units of the 10th Military Intelligence Battalion, 1003rd Infantry Brigade, 69th IB, Task Force Davao, and Intelligence Service of AFP (Isafp) in their attempt to arrest Rollon.

But Driz said the suspect evaded the checkpoint but managed to serve the warrants of arrest against Rollon while they were eating at Station Grill along Calinan National Highway.

Police also arrested Rollon's three companions after they recovered a .45 caliber pistol with ammunitions and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from their possession.

"We are still trying to validate if Rollon is indeed connected with the NPA rebels," Driz said.

Lieutenant Alex Cabales, spokesperson for the 10th IB, in a separate statement, said that Rollon is believed to be the vice-commanding officer of Basil Platoon of PBC-1.

"He is the number 2 official in PBC-1. But we will have to confirm it first," Cabales said.

Leoncio Pitao, alias Kumander Parago, commander of the PBC-1, was killed last month in an operation spearheaded by the Task Force Minion.

Driz said the four suspects were heading to Barangay Dominggo in Calinan.

"They are presently detained at the DCPO's Investigation and Detection Management Branch (DCPO-IDMB)," Driz said. (KRP)

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