By Francis Wakefield
Joint elements of the Philippine Army’s 80th Infantry Battalion (80IB) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) seized on Tuesday high-powered firearms at a farm in Teresa, Rizal which a military general linked to the ouster plot against President Duterte dubbed “Red October.”
According to Brigadier General Arnulfo Marcelo B. Burgos Jr., Commander of the 202nd Infantry (UNIFIER) Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over the area, the government troops and agents served the warrant which was issued after months of intelligence operations against Armando Lazarte, alias “Pat” and “Romano,” secretary of the NPA’s Sub-Regional Military Area 4A, and Tirso Alcantara alias Bart, the former Commander of the NPA Terrorists’ Regional Yunit Guerilla.
Unfortunately, the two were not in the area when the warrant was served.
Burgos said troops and NBI agents served at 7:30 a.m. the warrant in a farm that is believed to be a safe house of top NPA leaders in Southern Tagalog.
“The presence of top NPA leaders and the proximity of Teresa town to Manila are indicators that the threat of “Red October” cannot be downplayed and that the plotters are just awaiting for an opportunity to execute their plans,” Burgos said.
Burgos added that they will remain proactive in addressing any form of threats within our jurisdiction since our primary mandate is to be the vanguards of the national government’s southern frontier.
Lt .Col. Melencio Ragudo, commander of the 80IB, said the joint operations with the NBI at a farm, located at Sitio Dalig of the said municipality, resulted to the recovery of four M653 (baby armalite) rifles, one M203 Grenade Launcher, five U.S. made 12-gauge shotguns, one caliber .45 pistol, one caliber .38 revolver, one 9mm KG3 machine pistol, six units of two-way radios, two grenades, eight cellphones, enemy documents and numerous war materials as well as weapon system accessories.
He added that the owner of the six-hectare farm, Ki Be E, alias “Lily Ong,: was among the eight personalities apprehended by the government forces.
One of the apprehended personalities revealed to authorities that two of the M653s belong to alias Bart while the other two, including the grenades, were owned by alias Pat/Romano. The person also confirmed that the two NPA leaders were regular visitors of the farm.
Major General Rhoderick M. Parayno, army 2nd Infantry Division commander, congratulated the troops and agents for the successful operations which preempted the destabilization plot.