By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Police Regional Office-6 (PRO-6) reportedly captured a suspected New People’s Army (NPA) leader over the weekend at Poblacion Tacas in Cuartero, Capiz. According to PRO-6 director, Police Brigadier General John Bulalacao, the arrested individual, 54-year-old Virgilio Paragan, a resident of Dumalag, Capiz, served as commanding officer for the Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros Roger Mahinay Command from 2000 to 2004.
In addition, Paragan is one of Police Regional Office-7’s most wanted following multiple murder and attempted murder charges. The reported criminal activity forced the suspected NPA leader into hiding, particularly after a string of killings and ambush incidents involving police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit.
He is also considered a wanted terrorist by the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of National Defense. The government departments have also placed a P1,050,000 bounty on the suspected terrorist.
Bulalacao said Paragan took on the alias ‘Baltasar Saldo’ and worked as a helper at a local Capiz business establishment.
Meanwhile, when the suspect was later presented at Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City, Paragan was positively identified by the next of kin of a former rebel who served under Paragan’s command.
In response to the arrest, PRO-6 and Philippine Army 3rd Infantry Division intelligence units began looking into suspicions of the arrested individual maintaining contacts with NPA insurgents based in Antique.
Paragan is the second NPA leader from Negros arrested after National Democratic Front-Negros leader Ka Frank Fernandez was arrested, along with his wife and another person, in Laguna earlier this year./DGB, WDJ