ZAMBOANGA CITY: A senior communist rebel leader was arrested in a military operation conducted in the village of Sirib, Calinan district in Davao City on Tuesday.
Officials said Ruditha Rosete Gaylawan, 35, is the secretary general of Front Committee 54 of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Military raiders also seized from Gaylawan two hand grenades, a .45-caliber pistol with fully loaded magazines and two improvised explosives, as well as medicines and notebooks containing the names of NPA rebels.
Officials said the rebel leader is facing a string of criminal cases, mostly murder, filed before Davao del Norte trial courts. Her elder brother, Bobby Rosete, is also a ranking rebel leader.
Neither the CPP nor the NPA issued any statement on the capture of Gaylawan, but it previously accused the government of violating the immunity passes of other rebel leaders involved in peace talks with the Aquino government in the restive southern region.
Last year, a top NPA leader, Leoncio Pitao, alias Ka Parago and his female medical aide, Kyle Hermosa, were killed in fierce clashes with government soldiers in the village of Pañalum in Davao City’s Paquibato district.
Pitao, the commander of the fierce Pulang Bagani Command, has been blamed by the army for the spate of deadly attacks on military and police targets in Davao and nearby areas. Troops tracked down Pitao’s group and engaged them in a running gun battle that led to the rebel leader’s death.
While the military branded Pitao as “notorious and ruthless,” many villagers regard him as their modern-day Robin Hood, who stole from the rich to feed the poor. Pitao in the past also urged government soldiers to resign from the military service and join the struggle against state tyranny.
In March 2009, Pitao’s daughter Rebelyn, was abducted by suspected military agents in Davao City. She was believed to have been raped before being stabbed in the chest. Peace talks with the CPP have gone on and off, with the government and the rebels trading accusations of reneging on many agreements. The communist group has demanded that the government release all political prisoners languishing in jails across the country.