The military said Sunday it had detained a senior communist rebel leader, the latest in a series of arrests or killings which have damaged one of the world’s longest-running insurgencies.
Military agents and police arrested Maria Concepcion Araneta-Bocala, a central committee member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), at a home in Iloilo City on the central island of Panay on Saturday, military spokesmen said.
They seized two pistols and a hand grenade.
The statement identified Bocala as the secretary in charge of communist rebel forces in Panay, a largely rural island with a population of over four million.
“Her arrest will (cause) another vacuum in the leadership of the CPP-NPA organisation that has been rocked by successive arrests and neutralization efforts,” said military spokesman Colonel Noel Detoyato in a statement
He credited “months of intelligence work” for the capture, adding that Bocala faces charges of murder and rebellion.
The suspect reportedly had a bounty of P7.8 million on her head.
A leading NPA commander, Leonardo Pitao, was killed in a mountainous hamlet near the major southern city of Davao in June.
Earlier that month, Adelberto Silva, described by the military as the “highest-ranking” CPP-NPA leader, was captured. Last year CPP chairman Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma Tiamzon, the party’s secretary-general, were arrested.