By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Four alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were arrested last week in a checkpoint manned by elements of the 62nd Infantry Battalion (62IB) of the Philippine Army and police at Sitio Proper in Moises Padilla town’s Barangay Montilla.
3rd Infantry Division (3ID) spokesperson, Army Major Cenon Pancito III, identified the four as 25-year-old Jovanie Bohol; 24-year-old Wilmar Pongasi; 31-year-old Juannie Obidas; and 31-year-old Lioltren Trinidad.
Pancito said the four are members of the NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor.
According to the army spokesperson, the 62IB and Moises Padilla police received information from the locals that they spotted four individuals riding in two motorcycles who were acting suspiciously.
The government troops immediately organized a checkpoint. A few hours later the four suspects passed through the checkpoint and while being questioned, one of the alleged insurgents was discovered to have been carrying a gun, prompting the army and police personnel to make the arrest.
Cops recovered a .45 caliber pistol from Bohol; while Pongasi yielded a loaded M203 grenade launcher.
Law enforcement also recovered a transistor radio, a pair of rain boots, an NPA flag, a printer, and subversive documents.
Among the documents also include a marriage certificate owned by Nona Espinosa and Adidas Acero, who were arrested last month in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.
3ID commander, Major General Eric Vinoya, also questioned Pongasi as it indicates the direct participation of legal organizations in NPA’s activities in the town.
Pongasi is also said to be a member of the Farmers Development Center (FARDEC) based in Cebu and also believed to be a legal front of the insurgents.
“The arrest of Wilmar Pongasi, a staff of FARDEC, only reveals his affiliation with the communist terrorist group. This is a clear manifestation of the deceptive nature of the CPP-NPA-NDF as they use legal organizations and terrorism against our communities to fuel their ill-motivated intent of raising funds to fill the pockets of their greedy leaders,” Vinoya added./DGB, WDJ