LUCENA CITY—Three suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, including a minor, were captured by a combined team of Army soldiers and local police in Mulanay, Quezon, shortly before midnight on Friday, a regional military spokesperson said.
Col. Generoso Bolina, of the Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command based in Camp Nakar here, said the alleged rebels—Dennis Quidor, an NPA unit leader, alias “Ka Anghel/Jabar,” and his companions, Eliseo Lopez and a 17-year-old male—were nabbed while traveling aboard two motorcycles-for-hire.
Bolina said the government forces were alerted when the rebels and their two hired drivers evaded an Army checkpoint in the nearby town of San Francisco.
Bolina said the rebels were on a surveillance operation for the planned attacks in Mulanay, San Francisco and San Narciso towns by communist guerrillas from Southern Luzon.
The arrested rebels yielded explosive devices, a hand grenade, one .22 cal and one .45 cal handgun, Armalite magazines and ammunition, and antigovernment documents, he said.
In a statement issued on Friday, Eduardo Labrador, spokesperson of the communist-led National Democratic Front in Southern Tagalog, said some 50 Red fighters had been recently dispatched in southern Quezon.
Lt. Col. Dennis Perez, commander of the Army’s 74th Infantry Battalion operating in Quezon, ignored Labrador’s claim of additional force.
“That’s basic empty propaganda—pretend to be strong when actually weak. They were just deceiving themselves,” Perez said over the phone.
On Thursday, suspected NPA rebels executed two members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) and a farmer in Tagkawayan, Quezon, according to a police report from Camp Nakar.
The victims were identified as Adriano Lusanta and Jeffrey Mendoza, both Cafgu members based in the Barangay Casispalan detachment in Tagkawayan, and farmer Efren Gacilla Jr.
The killings in Tagkawayan and the arrest of the suspected rebels came just as both the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines agreed to a 27-day holiday truce from Dec. 20, 2012, to Jan. 15, 2013, to help restart their stalled peace negotiation.