Cops say top Mindanao Red, 3 others arrested at checkpoint
KORONADAL CITY—Authorities here announced the arrest of what they said was a regional communist rebel leader and three companions at a checkpoint on Thursday, Oct. 10, in the town of Maitum, Sarangani province.
Arrested were Nicanor Claro Pason, also known as RonRon or Costan, secretary of Guerrilla Front (GF) 73 of the communist New Peoples Army (NPA) operating in the Soccsksargen region; Bernard Langorin Presbetero, alias “Aldrin/Patong,” 47, a resident of Polomolok, South Cotabato; Josephine Carvajal Sumagaysay, 53, and Reynaldo Beringil Loyola, 47, both residents of Purok 5, Barangay Zion in Maitum.
Brig. Gen. Alfred S. Corpus, Region 12 police director, said Pason has seven warrants of arrest for murder, frustrated murder, rebellion, arson, kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
He said Pason is one of the senior leaders of GF 73 operating in the area of Barangay San Jose, General Santos City, and the municipalities of Banga, Tupi, Polomolok, Lake Sebu and T’boli in South Cotabato, and in Kiamba, Sarangani.
In a statement, Lt. Col. Jones Otida, commanding officer of Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion, identified Presbetero as the spokesperson of the NPA’s Far South Mindanao Regional Committee.
Corpus said that Pason and his group was behind the 2016 burning of a Yellow Bus Lines (YBL) and a public utility van plying the General Santos—Maitum route.
They were also believed to be behind the burning of construction equipment in Barangay San Jose, General Santos City in the same year, Corpus said.
Seized from the suspects were two hand grenades, five blasting caps, a cellular phone, a mobile Wi-Fi gadget, and a back pack.
Corpus said Pason and his group were intercepted at a checkpoint at Barangay Kalaong, Maitum.
The arrested suspects were aboard a motorcycle when they were flagged down at the checkpoint. As police were about to inspect the motorcycle, Loyola, who was driving, tried to escape while Pason pulled out a grenade, prompting police to open fire.
Pason was hit in the right thigh and rushed to Maitum Emergency Hospital. The other suspects and seized items were brought to the town’s police station.
A tipster helped police in the arrest, according to Corpus. With a report by Joselle Badilla/TSB
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