COMBINED elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Army and the Philippine National Police (PNP) captured another top leader of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in the rebel-infested island province of Samar, bringing to three the total number of rebel officials arrested in two weeks.
Capt, Amado Gutierrez, spokesman, 8th Infantry Division (ID), on Friday identified the rebel leader as Edna Montes, head of the Educational Department of the Eastern Samar Provincial Party Committee and concurrent secretary of the Eastern Samar Provincial White Area Committee.
Montes, also a former member of the Executive Committee of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee of the NPA, was arrested during a joint operation conducted by the 14th Infantry Batalion and the local police at Barangay 8, Guiuan town, Eastern Samar.
She was also the third ranking leader of the NPA that has fallen recently into the hands of government forces.
On June 28, joint elements of the 8ID and the PNP Catbalogan City also arrested Juan Paolo Rodrigo Versosa and his wife, Grace at Barangay Fortuna, Marikina City.
Versosa is an intelligence officer of the Samar Provincial Party Committee of the NPA, while his wife is with the staff reproduction bureau of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee.
The duo were arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest for the crime of robbery with homicide issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of the 8th Judicial Region.
They have been turned over by the Eastern Police District to the custody of the Eastern Samar authorities.
Maj. Gen. Gerardo Layug, commander, 8ID, said the arrest of the three was a big blow to the NPA in Samar.
“The successive arrests of top ranking NPA members in Eastern Visayas is a result of the cooperation of peace loving people in the area as well as other stakeholders’ desire for peace and development. With this undertaking, the 8th Infantry Division will play its role in the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ to make the island of Samar an insurgency-free region in the near future,” Layug said.