By Mike U. Crismundo
Butuan City – The New People’s Army (NPA), on Tuesday, clarified that two alleged ranking leaders of the rebel group, who were arrested by the military and police in Claver, Surigao Del Norte on Friday last week, were not their comrades.
A certain “Ka Oto,” who claims to be the spokesperson of the guerrilla-Front Committee 16 of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee, said Benjamin Catong, or “Ka Kulata,” and his wife Melody were no longer in their roster.
The couple was arrested by elements of the Claver Municipal Police Station (MPS) and the regional police headquarters, together with personnel of the 30th Infantry Battalion (30th IB) last Friday in Barangay Ladgaron, Claver town.
The spokesperson claimed both Benjamin and Melody slipped under the radar in 2013, and had since lived a normal life as “ordinary farmers.”
The two were suspected by the military and police as political officers of Front Committee 16 operating in Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Norte provinces.
However, the military on Wednesday maintained that the suspects were, indeed, members of the NPA.
The suspects were nabbed at their residence in Ladgaron area on the strength of an arrest warrant issued by Judge Dan Calderon of Branch 32 Regional Trial Court, Surigao City for multiple attempted murder.
The raiding team confiscated a .9-mm revolver, and some ammunition from the suspects, military and police report said.
Tags: 30th Infantry Battalion, Claver Municipal Police Station, CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee, guerrilla-Front Committee, Ka Oto, NPA, NPA says 2 Reds arrested by gov’t forces not their own, Regional Trial Court, The New People’s Army