CAMP MELCHOR DELA CRUZ, Gamu, Isabela—Soldiers of the Philippines Army’s 45th Infantry Battalion based in San Mariano, Isabela, exhume the skeleton of a suspected top-ranking communist rebel in Cagayan Valley, according to Army’s Fifth Infantry Division.
Maj. Gen. Ericson Aurelio, the 5th ID commander, announced the exhumation after the 502nd Infantry Brigade reported that two suspected NPA rebels were also captured last week by soldiers of the 45th IB in a firefight with communist guerrillas in Sitio Dibulod in Jones.
Aurelio said the skeleton belonged to communist leader Wilfredo Valencia, who is also known as Ka Janus, Loli, Vox, Moises and Moi in the armed movement.
“Valencia was killed in an encounter between our troops and the NPA rebels sometime in March last year in San Mariano,” Aurelio said.
Aurelio was installed as the new 5th ID commanding general on Friday replacing Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Alcasid, who retired from the military service on October 20.
Aurelio said 1st Lt. Edwin Alburo and 2nd Lt. Joeffrey Belen led the exhumation of the NPA leader’s skeleton over the weekend in a place called “Forest Region” in Sitio Lamag in Barangay Panninan, San Mariano, just a few kilometers from where the encounter occurred.
Aurelio said Valencia was the secretary-general of the Cagayan Valley Regional Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
Valencia also became head of the NPA’s Special Operations Group, head of the military department of the NPA-CVRC.
“He’s one of the top 10 most wanted outlaws in Cagayan Valley carrying a head bounty for P250,000,” Aurelio said.
In his report to Aurelio, Col. Napoleon Malana, commander of the 502nd Infantry Brigade, noted that while his soldiers were exhuming the skeletal remains of the fallen NPA leader they found a small brown bottle placed on top of his right foot.
“The bottle contains a small amount of oil, small sheet of paper with the names ‘Loi/Moi’ written on it,” Malana said.
The paper was also dated “March 27, 2003,” believed to be the date Valencia died. It was also marked “Uleg,” believed to be Barangay Ueg in San Mariano, the place where he died.
Malana further recalled that Valencia was killed in an encounter between his troops and a band of NPA rebels at the vicinity of Barangay Ueg on March 27, 2003.
He said the soldiers did not recover Valencia’s body, because his comrades were able to drag him while withdrawing from the encounter site.
Madalogdog said that NPA rebel’s body was already taken to the Municipal Health Office in San Mariano for autopsy and legal documentation before it returned to his family.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Roger Madalogdog, the 5th ID’s civil military officer, quoted Malana as saying two suspected NPA rebels were also captured last week by soldiers of the 45th IB in a firefight with communist guerrillas in Sitio Dibulod in Jones.
Madalogdog identified the rebels as Ronaldo Botwagon, alias Ka Jess, team leader of Platoon Uno of the Central Front-Cagayan Valley Regional Committee and Marcial Aglugob, alias Ka Mike, assistant team leader.
He said Botwagon was from Sitio Linangyawan, Barangay San Martin in Maddela, Quirino, and his comrade Aglugod was from Barangay Cataguing in San Mariano, Isabela.
Recovered from their possession were a .45-caliber pistol, a magazine with six bullets, medicines and valuable subversive documents.
By Florante Solmerin