Alleged rebel leader nabbed in Leyte town
TACLOBAN CITY –– An alleged rebel leader was arrested by government forces in Barangay Tinago, Inopacan town, Leyte on Tuesday, July 14.
Felomino Salazar, Jr., 69, was the subject of 15 arrest warrants concerning the killings in Inopacan and nearby areas in the early 1980s, said Major Ryann Velez, civil-military officer of the 802nd Infantry Brigade based in Ormoc City.
The arrest warrants were issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 32 in Metro Manila.
Salazar, also known as Jun and Leo, was reportedly a member of the executive committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) Southern Leyte Front, Velez said.
“When we received information (about his whereabouts), we verified and confirmed it. We immediately conducted an operation which resulted in his arrest,” he said.
Salazar, he said, has been living since 2015 in Tinago, where his nephew, a village councilor, resides.
Velez said Salazar is part of the group responsible for the implementation of the so-called “Operation Anti-Venereal Disease” in the early 1980s.
This group was allegedly behind the murder of hundreds of civilians, who the rebels believed provided information to the government.
On August 31, 2006, a mass grave was discovered in Mt. Sapang Daku in Barangay Caulisihan, also in Inopacan, where the victims of the “mass purging” were buried.
At least 67 human skulls and hundreds of bones were found at the mass grave.
Velez said Salazar is now under the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Ormoc City for documentation before he is presented to the court.
“This is not our victory but the victory of the people who were victimized by their group,” he said.
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