TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- The arrest of the six suspected rebels led to the prevention of planned roadside bombings of the NPA, Cagayan Valley regional police commander Chief Superintendent Jose Mario Espino, citing intelligence reports.
Espino on Monday, February 19, presented to media five of the arrested suspects.
One of the suspects, Mauricio Sagun, 65, was a training specialist for the explosive team of the Southern Front of NPA- Cagayan, police said. He had three pending warrants of arrest for murder issued by the Regional Trial Court in Ilagan City, Isabela.
Sagun was with four other alleged NPA rebels when arrested a residence in Barangay San Antonio in Ilagan City, namely: Mario Turqueza, 65, Ariel Peñaflor, 48, Bernard Peñaflor, 21, and Maximiñano Domingo, 44, all residents of San Mariano town in Isabela.
Another high-profile bomber of the communist rebels was also arrested on February 15 in Maddela town in Quirino province.
Espino said the suspect, identified as Kevin Nilo, 27, was found with different types of explosives, .45 caliber gun, materials in making explosives, and two magazines with live ammunition.
Superintendent Ariel Quilang, Ilagan City police chief, said Sagun’s group is related to Nilo, who are both “experts” in bombing within the rebel group.
Quilang added Sagun was the assistant of Victorio Tesorio, a ranking leader of the Northeast Luzon Regional Command (NLRC) who was killed during a warrant operation in San Manuel, Tarlac in January 24.
The arrest of the six rebels and the killing of Tesorio “significantly” affected the operations of the group, Espino said.
“Ito’y malaking kawalan dito sa partido nila. Kung meron mang silang binabalak na atrocities dito sa (Police Regional Office 2), ay mahihirapan sila ngayon dahil sa pagkahuli…palagay ko po napigilan natin ‘yung anumang binabalak nilang harassment, atrocities, raids sa AFP at PNP,” Espino said.
(This is a big loss to their group. If they are planning to stage atrocities here within the jurisdiction of the Police Regional Office 2, it will surely be difficult for them due to the arrest. I think we prevented their plans to harass, to stage atrocities and raids against AFP and PNP.)
He said that the explosives found in Nilo’s possession were ‘ready to be used” against government forces.
He added that the planned attacks could also be part of communist top leader Joma Sison’s threat against the Duterte administration to launch more attacks to force continuation of the terminated peace talks.
The Duterte administration earlier cancelled the peace talks between government and the Communist Party of the Philippines due to the supposed incessant attacks on the part of the rebels.
Duterte also issued an executive order declaring the rebels as “criminal terrorists.” Northernforum.net