By Francis Wakefield
A former barangay chairman from Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, wanted for his alleged involvement in criminal activities is now under police custody following his surrender on Wednesday.
Hilarion Macalua III, ex-head of Bgy. Hilaitan, turned himself in bringing along an AK-47 rifle, a cal. 45 pistol and several ammunitions.
Earlier, Macalua was one of the subjects of 96 search warrants during a Dec. 26, 2018 simultaneous anti-crime operations in the province led by the Police Regional Office 7 (PRO7) in Central Visayas.
Elements of the Army’s 302nd Infantry Brigade backed up the Central Visayas police teams in the serving of warrants in Guihulngan City, La Libertad, Mabinay and Sta. Catalina.
During the same operations, six NPA SPARU members were killed in shootouts with law enforcers while 26 regular NPA, Militia ng Bayan members and NPA murder accomplices were arrested.
The joint operation reportedly yielded at least 65 assorted firearms and ammunitions. Although the lawmen failed to collar Macalua during the actual serving of the search and arrest warrant, they seized an M-16 rifle, M4, cal. 45 pistol and several rounds of ammunition from his house.
According to police sources, Macalua had been on the government’s so-called “narco list” since 2008.
The former village chief, they claimed, was mentioned by PDEA action agents to be involved in an Aug. 2018 case where P72 million worth of shabu was confiscated during the San Carlos City raid. The authorities are also looking into Macalua’s alleged links with the New People’s Army (NPA).
Reports reaching both the military and the police said Macalua had been providing the NPA with funds and firearms, among other means of support.
PNP sources expressed hope Macalua would publicly expose his NPA connections, as well as the links between the illegal drugs trade and the communist movement.
PRO7 regional director Debold Sinas asserted “since Macalua voluntarily surrendered, and if the allegations against him are true, they are urging him to tell the truth and expose the flow of narco money where the NPAs desperately depend to survive.
“The connection is very obvious, the NPA do not kill drug lords and dealers they only murder retired military and police personnel and informants. Members of CAFGU, and barangay officials are actively helping the government in its anti-NPA terrorism campaign,” Sinas emphasized
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Ignacio Briones Madriaga, Army 302 brigade commander, said this is the right time for Macalua to testify in court because the rebels have been engaged in killing sprees.
Madriaga pointed out that in Guihulngan City alone, “more than 80 people have been killed by the terrorist NPA SPARU.
“Those abetting these NPA outlaws also have criminal liabilities,” he said.