Two members of the Special Partisan Unit (Sparu) of the New People’s Army (NPA) were arrested by soldiers of the 403rd Infantry Brigade and the police in Barangay Tongan-Tongan, Valencia City, Bukidnon on Nov. 15.
Capt. Ryan Layug, the Civil- Military Operations officer of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, identified them as Frederic Tagurda and Pedeng Matikinon. Seized from them were two .45 caliber pistols, hand grenade, four blasting caps, and an XRM motorcycle.
The two were reportedly the primary suspects in the shooting of teacher Zhaydee Cabanelez last Oct. 15 inside the classroom; the murder of CAA Pedro Omblero Jr. last Oct. 26, who was killed in front of his common-law-wife; the grenade blast at Quezon Municipal Police Station; and the attack at an Army checkpoint in Valencia City, wounding four military personnel.
Accordingly, the two were arrested following a brief gunfight.
Brig. Gen. Edgardo De Leon, 403rd IB commander, lauded the law enforcers for the arrest of two members of the Sparu, the NPA’s notorious liquidation squad.
“Their arrest gives initial justice for teacher Zhaydee who is still recuperating from the trauma and for Cafgu Auxiliary Pedro Omblero who was handcuffed and killed while being deprived of liberty,” De Leon said.
It can be recalled that ACT Teachers Partylist blaimed state forces for the attack on Cabanelez. Meanwhile, the Communist Party of the Philippines, on its website, accused the 4th Infantry Division of perpetrating the attack on the teacher.
According to Valencia City PNP, the Sparu is responsible for eight shooting incidents in Bukidnon. Among them are:
1. Jermel Tejada Pulido, Barangay Nabag-o – killed reportedly due to internal purging of the NPA.
2. Bernardino Maldan Matanod, Barangay Sinayawan – hogtied and shot on the head by 10 NPAs.
3. Zhaydee Bitago Cabañeles, Barangay Lumbayao – teacher who survived the slay attempt
4. Rodolfo Cabido Estember, Barangay Lumbayao – attacked for not reportedly remitting the extortion money.
5. Pedro Mancao Omblero Jr., Barangay Kahaponan-Batangan Boundary – victim was a Cafgu volunteer. He was handcuffed and shot in the head.
6. Nathaniel Capunay Tagaylo, Barangay Vintar – killed for unremitted revolutionary tax.
7. Leah Mandanhog Tumbalang, Barangay Poblacion – killed after she surrendered to authorities.
8. Reynan Salvo Egargin, Barangay San Carlos – killed on suspicion that the victim was a government informant.
The military said the Sparu members are all living in the urban areas. They kill civilians and non-combatants. They also kill fellow NPA members and supporters, then blame government forces for their deaths.