AUTHORITIES on Tuesday nabbed a ranking leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Western Visayas.
Maj. Ray Tiongson, spokesperson of the 3rd Infantry Division, identified the rebel leader as Norberto Castor alias Marlon and Greg, deputy secretary of the CPP-NPA’s Central Front of Komiteng Rehiyonal-Panay.
Tiongson said Castor is also one of the senior leaders of the underground movement who carried out atrocities in Central Panay, victimizing civilians and also causing the destruction of millions worth of government and private properties.
Castor was arrested by joint elements of the military and the police in an early morning operation in Barangay Calaboa, Leganes, Iloilo by virtue of a warrant for multiple murder with the use of explosive with multiple frustrated murder.
“The arrest of Castor is certainly a big blow against the CPP-NPA hierarchy and will add to their leadership crisis. This will contribute to the peaceful environment in the provinces of Panay Island,” said Col. Eric Uchida, commander of 301st Brigade that supervises the Army forces in Panay.
Western Visayas, comprising the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Antique, Aklan and Negros Occidental, is among the remaining NPA-infested areas in the country.
Prior to Castor’s arrest, authorities have also arrested several other NPA leaders in the area.
Among them were Reniel Cellon, commander of Platoon 2, Sangay ng Partido sa Southwest, and his wife Mary Jane, the group’s finance officer, and Bernabe Tubongbanua, staff of the Regional Finance Bureau and intelligence officer of Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay.
Joel Baron Danioso, commanding officer of the NPA’s Yunit Milisya of the North Negros Front and Mateo Suarez, 58, the NPA’s bagman and leader of extortion team, were arrested in Barangay Carmelo, Banate, Iloilo. Suarez is also a member of the Panay Regional Committee of the CPP-NPA.