THE police and the military on Tuesday announced the arrest in Cavite of a man they tagged as the highest-ranked communist guerrilla leader in the Philippines.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced the arrest of Adelberto Silva on its Twitter account. It said police and military forces arrested Silva in Barangay Molino 5 in Bacoor City. The Armed Forces said Silva was arrested at 11:10 p.m. on Monday.
Arrested along with Silva were his wife, Sharon Ronquillo Cabusao, and Isidro de Lima, both suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
He had been living in the house along Hernandez Street for a year and had posed as a businessman, said a police report. Police said they seized electronic devices, grenades and documents at the hideout.
The CIDG identified Silva as the secretary general of the CPP-NPA who was wanted for murder, frustrated murder and attempted murder. Earlier reports said the suspect was among those linked to the killing of at least 15 NPA members during a purge from 1985 to 1991.
The government alleges the 15 were abducted and then murdered by the NPA on suspicion of spying for the military.
The Tiamzons refused to enter pleas at their trial last month for the same killings, so the court entered “not guilty” pleas on their behalf.
“He is the overall orchestrator of rebel movements in the entire country. He organizes the activities of the rebels,” military spokesman Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala told Agence France-Presse.
“This [arrest]will have a huge impact. This will disrupt their strategic direction and programs,” Kakilala said.
Security forces in March last year arrested CPP chairman Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma Tiamzon, the party’s secretary-general, in Cebu in Central Visayas . Kakilala said the low-profile Silva, whose age and personal background was not disclosed nor publicly known, took over the CPP-NPA leadership after the Tiamzons’ arrest.
Earlier this month, ranking leaders of the CPP-NPA were arraigned at the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47 for 15 counts of murder in connection with the 1985 Inopacan (Leyte) massacre.
Among those arraigned were the Tiamzon couple, former Bayan Muna party-list Rep.
Satur Ocampo, Vicente Ladlad, Randal Echanis, Rafael Baylosis and several others.
The AFP said the Inopacan Massacre was among the heinous crimes committed by the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front in 1985 in their attempt to purge their ranks of suspected military “deep penetration agents” or DPAs.
The NPA tried suspected military informants in “kangaroo courts,” leading to summary execution of several suspected DPAs, including 70 people from Sapang Dako village in Inopacan.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. commended soldiers and policemen for the successful operation against Silva.
“This victory against criminality is attributed to the concerted efforts of the [Armed Forces], PNP and other stakeholders in our common pursuit for peace. This accomplishment is for the innocent people who are victimized by the NPA’s senseless violence,” Catapang said in a statement.