MANILA, Philippines — The top leader of the communist insurgents in Sorsogon abandoned his men after last week’s encounter with the military that left his top lieutenants dead, the military said on Wednesday.
Andres Hubilla alias Ka Magno, secretary of the Komite ng Probinsya Sorsogon of the New People’s Army (NPA), has slipped out of the province, said Colonel Joselito Kakilala, commander of the Army’s 903rd Brigade, which carried out the assault against the communist insurgents late last week.
Kakilala said Hubilla has been living it up in Sorsogon while leading peasants in the revolutionary movement.
Hubilla has a P10 million mansion in Sta. Cruz village in Casiguran, Sorsogon, according to the military.
The July 4 clash took place right inside an NPA camp in the hinterlands in Upper Calmayon in Juban town, killing top NPA leaders in Sorsogon.
The NPAs in Sorsogon are practically leaderless, crippled, and scattered, according to Kakilala.
“They lost the brains in the movement in that area,” he said.
Among those killed was Greg Banares, the spokesperson of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Bicol and Ramil Anonuevo, a member of the NPA’s national special operations group who was implicated in the assassinations of former communist party top leaders Filemon “Popoy” Lagman and Romulo Kintanar.
“We hit not only the command and control of Sorsogon but also the entire Bicol region,” Kakilala said.
Banares’ partner, Christine Puche, who handled the propaganda efforts of the communist insurgency in the region was also killed.
“It would take some time for the NPA to find a replacement for Banares of his caliber,” Kakilala said.
The military’s recent victory in Sorsogon was a “big blow to the NPAs because soldiers were able to penetrate the security of the top cadres right inside their headquarters,” highlighting the communist insurgents’ “vulnerability” to government forces.
Kakilala said the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has begun its propaganda against the military, such as calling the Upper Calmayon encounter a massacre.
It was the CPP’s only way to discredit the government, Kakilala said, describing the NPA in Sorsogon as “vicious,” for killing civilians and extorting money from them.
Kakilala said that he has ordered his men to prevent any regrouping by the NPA.
“We should not give the NPA the space and time to organize, train, and conduct tactical offensives against government forces including the PNP (Philippine National Police),” he said.
In Mindanao, the CPP’s secretary of its guerilla front in the Southern Mindanao regional committee surrendered to the Army’s 10th Infantry Division on Wednesday.
Top NPA leader Narciso Ruben alias Jason left the movement because of “hardship, disillusionment with the NPA, and military pressure,” said Major General Ricardo Rainier Cruz, commander of the Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command.
“More from the NPA would likely surrender. It’s very rare that a front secretary would surrender. He was carrying a Smith & Wesson revolver. He was alone when he surrendered,” Cruz said.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Emmanuel Bautista will preside over a command conference on Wednesday on the internal security operations of the military.