By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — Separate police operations on the evening of October 8 led to the apprehension of suspected New People’s Army (NPA) leaders in Cagayan province.
Operatives identified the arrested individuals as Violeta Ricardo alias “Isay”, Cristeta Miguel Garcia alias “Senyang” and Delilah Padilla alias “Domay”. Authorities tagged the three as ranking officials of the rebel’s Northern Front operating in Cagayan and the Cagayan Valley Regional Committee.
Arrested in Gattaran town were Garcia and Ricardo while the police caught Padilla in Leonarda village, Tuguegarao City. The military said they are facing several criminal charges and issued warrants for assault, murder, frustrated murder, attempted murder and robbery.
The police alleged that Ricardo is the deputy secretary of the Northern Front Committee and finance officer of the Komiteng Rehiyon-Cagayan Valley (KR-CV). She has a P2.4 million bounty for her arrest.
Padilla, who has a P700,000 reward for her capture, is purportedly the wife of Renato Busania, one of the most wanted NPA member. On the other hand, the PNP Cagayan Valley believed Garcia is a staff of the Northern Front’s executive committee and KR-CV.
Also arrested was 50-year old Carol Garcia Ballesta for obstruction of justice. The police attributed the charge against her for allegedly harboring Padilla.
Personnel from the Police Regional Office Cagayan Valley and regional forces of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group effected the arrest of the individuals.
On a separate press release, Northern Luzon Command chief Lt.Gen, Ramiro Rey said troops from the military’s Joint Task Force Tala assisted in the operation. He commended the units for the arrest and called on the public to report unusual activities in their places.
Earlier army officials in the region also noted that NPA presence in the region is manageable. They stated that armed encounters with the communist guerillas resulted in the seizure of rebel members and logistics. Among the step pushed by the military is for local governments to declare the revolutionary movement and its suspected front organizations as persona non grata.
In June, the regional office of the Department of Interior and Local Government with the National Economic and Development Authority led the creation of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. Fifty representatives from different government agencies attended the meeting aimed at organizing the 12 clusters of the task force at the local level. # nordis.net / Featured photo from Northern Luzon Command