By Malu Cadelina Manar
Government forces arrested on Friday three suspected communist guerrillas operating in the provinces of North Cotabato and Bukidnon in North Mindanao, a village official said.
Dionisio Wanal, chairman of Barangay San Isidro in Kidapawan City, said elements of the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion raided the house of a certain Belen Badul where the three suspected members of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) were taking a respite.
The Army identified the suspects as Joy Ortiz, 19, and Christian John Balatero, 21, and Rudy Antiola, 57, all residents of Barangay Santo Niño, Kidapawan City.
The suspects, however, denied the allegations.
Ortiz said she just visited a relative in the city to get her school credentials which she needed for a job in Tagum City. Antiola explained he was just a tenant in the area.
Authorities recovered from the area some cash, alleged subversive documents, a grenade and an empty cartridge of caliber 45 pistol.
Wanal hinted that an informant could have tipped the Army of the rebels’ presence in Badul’s house.
Their arrest came two days after the police and Army set up a highway checkpoint in Barangay San Isidro, he added.
Wanal said he would ensure that the suspects would not undergo torture from their captors.
The suspects were brought to the custody of the Kidapawan City Philippine National Police for filing of appropriate charges.
The area where the arrest took place is a few kilometers away from where the two roadside bombs went off, two weeks ago. The NPAs claimed responsibility for the explosions, police reports said.