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Another NPA officer nabbed

The arrest of Leonida Guao – who also goes by Ka Lea, Ka Ligaya and Ka Laya – came following the arrest of NPA leader Rafael Baylosis last Thursday. AP /Aaron Favila

Another NPA officer nabbed

Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - February 4, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government offensive against communist rebels yielded another prize with the arrest of the supposed finance officer of the Mindanao-based New People’s Army (NPA) in Butuan City.

The arrest of Leonida Guao – who also goes by Ka Lea, Ka Ligaya and Ka Laya – came following the arrest of NPA leader Rafael Baylosis last Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) commander, said Guao was arrested in Barangay Banding, Butuan City on Friday.

Madrigal said village leaders informed the military that Guao was hiding in their community.

Eastmincom spokesperson Maj. Ezra Balagtey said Guao is wanted for murder.

“With the help of the community, the arrest was made by virtue of warrant of arrest under Criminal Case No. 5809 for murder against Guao issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 7, Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur,” Balagtey said.

She said Guao served as the NPA finance officer of all guerrilla fronts operating in Mindanao.

Officials said Guao was turned over to the regional police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

A militant lawmaker, on the other hand, warned the NPA could resort to arresting government peace negotiators in retaliation for the arrest of Baylosis.

“If the arrest of NDF consultants temporarily released on bail continues, it might reach a point where the NPA would declare they will also arrest government negotiators and consultants,” Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao said.

Activists said the arrest of Baylosis was in violation of the immunity guarantee agreement.

Baylosis was among the 18 rebels who were freed as peace consultants to participate in the moribund peace talks in The Netherlands.

Following the failure of the peace talks, President Duterte ordered the rearrest of the freed rebels.

Meanwhile, eight NPA rebels surrendered to the military on Friday and linked a local official in the alleged recruitment of rebels.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the communist insurgents decided to yield following the relentless pursuit operations of government forces.

Galvez said three of those who surrendered linked a local official to the CPP-NPA.

The military did not divulge the identity of the said official who was described to be facilitating the organization of the lumads as NPA fighters purportedly to reclaim their ancestral lands. – With Roel Pareño, Edith Regalado, Emmanuel Tupas

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