The 27th Infantry Battalion arrested a high-ranking leader of the New People’s Army after he was wounded in a clash with soldiers yesterday dawn.
Meanwhile, his three other companions were also apprehended, including the spokesperson of the Far Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (FSMR).
Lt. Col. Jones Otida, the commander of the 27th IB, identified the NPA leader as Nicanor Pason or Ka Costan, the highest-ranking NPA leader of Guerilla Front Musa.
Otida said Kumander Costan is a leader of NPA being monitored in the provinces of Sarangani, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.
FSMR’s spokesperson, Bernard Prespetero aka Ka Aldrin, was also arrested while he was about to escape on a motorcycle. Also arrested were Josephine Carjaval Sumagaysay and Reynaldo Loyola, both NPA couriers and contacts.
They were arrested by the Inter-Agency group composed of 27th IB under 1002nd Infantry Brigade under Brig. Gen. Adonis Bajao and Police Regional Office 12.
The soldiers receive a tip from one of the residents, prompting them to launch an offensive in Barangay Kalaong, Maitum, Sarangani.
Otida said the rebels tried to throw a grenade in their attempt to escape but they were prevented by the troops. However, Pason was wounded in the process.
Pason has been an NPA leader operating in South Cotabato for the past 30 years. He has outstanding cases for arson, murder, homicide, and others.
“This triumph also shows that it is indeed through the collaborative efforts of all that we can put a stop to this long and senseless attempt of overthrowing our government,” Lt. Col. Jones Otida, the commander of 27th IB, said.
For now, the wounded rebel is still being treated while the three others are now under the custody of the PNP for legal proceedings.
In his statement, Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. said “now that the NPA is losing mass support and manpower brought by the initiatives of local government units and other government agencies, we will be running after their leaders who continuously embrace the violent armed struggle.”
“While doing so, we will continue to work for the resolution of issues that are being exploited by the NPAs, so that, once and for all, we will achieve peace under the President’s timeline,” he added.