By Mike U. Crismundo
Combat maneuvering troops of the Army’s 26th Infantry Battallion (26th IB) nabbed three heavily armed members of New People’s Army (NPA) in Sta. Maria, Veruela, Agusan del Sur.
A military report sent to The Manila Bulletin early Monday evening said 26th IB troops captured from the NPA war materials such as two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) with blasting caps and wires, 1 M16 Armalite rifle, 1 M1Garand rifle, 1 caliber .45 pistol, a caliber .38 revolver and several rounds of assorted live ammunitions.
In his initial report to Col. Cristobal N. Zaragoza, commanding officer of the Army’s 401st Infantry (Unity) Brigade, Lt. Col. Rommel Pagayon, 26th IB commander, identified the arrested alleged NPA rebels as Bernie S. Perez, alias “Ka Ariel”; Joel S. Perez, alias “Ka Jo” and Nino S. Perez, alias “Ka Onin”.
“Research done by the intelligence operatives and Philippine National Police revealed that Bernie S Perez, alias ‘Ka Ariel’ has a standing warrant of arrest for the crime of murder,” Col. Pagayon disclosed.
However, the 26th IB commander did not mention in his report if the captured Perezes are related by blood, affinity or connection.
Col. Pagayon said the three alleged NPAs were members of guerilla-Front Committee 3 of the CPP-NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Committee.
“The trio crossed path with our troops on Saturday who were on patrol. The soldiers noticed that one of the sacks they were carrying revealed an outline of a rifle which prompted them to accost the trio. Ka Onin tried to escape but was seized later,” the 26th IB commander added, in his report.
Along with the police in Veruela Municipal Police Station, the arrested NPAs are still under tactical investigation in preparation for filing of appropriate charges in court in Veruela, Agusan del Sur, Col. Pagayon added.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal, commanding general of the Army’s Northeastern and Northern Mindanao 4thInfantry (Diamond) Division on Tuesday congratulated the field troops as he extorted them to be more cautious and vigilant in the advent of the NPAs plan to wage more attacks on AFP and PNP forces and uncooperative business entities.