ZAMBOANGA CITY – The military freed a woman who was arrested together with a senior communist rebel leader in Davao City, saying she was unaware of her partner’s underground activities.
Judith Niog was released from military and police custody, according to Captain Alberto Caber, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command. Authorities are still holding Roy Erecre, who is allegedly a member of the politburo of the Communist Party of the Philippines and regional leader of the New People’s Army in Central Visayas.
The two were arrested Wednesday in the village of Sasa where undercover agents shadowed them for one week as they vacationed in different beach resorts and hotels in Davao.
Caber said authorities are still deciphering the contents of a USB drive and documents seized from Erecre. An estimated P352,000 in cash and hotel receipts were also taken from the rebel leader.
He said the money may have come from extortion activities of the NPA in Central Philippines and was supposed to go to the coffers of the rebel group, but had been absconded by Erecre.
“We still don’t know where he got the money, but it can end up in the coffers of the NPA or wired directly to Jose Maria Sison or finance terror attacks and it is clear that he absconded the money,” Caber said referring to the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines now in exile in the Netherlands.
Caber said Erecre has a P5.4-million bounty for his capture and are facing a string of criminal cases in Cebu and Bohol. Both the CPP and the NPA did not release any statement about Erecre’s arrest.
The rebels have been fighting for decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country.