74-year old ‘rebel leader’ gunned down in Iloilo ‘encounter’ with gov’t forces
ILOILO CITY—An alleged high-ranking rebel leader in Panay Island was gunned down when the police and military raided a house in Pavia, Iloilo on Friday (May 28) evening.
Reynaldo Bocala, who allegedly held various positions including deputy secretary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Panay and carried a bounty of P4.8 million, died in what police said was an armed encounter in a house in Barangay Balabag in Pavia at around 8:20 p.m..
Bocala’s male companion, who was identified by policemen as a certain “Ramon” also died.
Operatives from the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group – Western Visayas, Regional Intelligence Group and the Armed Forces of the Philippines were attempting to serve four warrants of arrest against Bocala, the PNP-Western Visayas said in a statement.
Bocala, who would have turned 75 next month, and his companion allegedly fired at the operatives, who were forced to return fire.
The arrest warrants against Bocala issued by various courts include those related to charges of murder, arson and robbery, according to the Police Regional Office 6 statement.
Operatives recovered two .45- pistols, documents and cellphones.
Also recovered by operatives was a “Document of Identification No. PP 978525” issued by the National Democratic Front dated August 26, 2016, designating Bocala as “Consultant” for the Visayas.
Bocala is the husband of Maria Concepcion “Concha” Araneta, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front in Panay.
He was captured in 2001 following a firefight with government troops in Igbaras, Iloilo but was released on bail and assumed to have rejoined the rebel movement.
His wife, the alleged head of the CPP in Panay, was captured in Iloilo City in 2015.
She was allowed to post bail in 2016 as a consultant of the NDF and joined the peace negotiations between the government and the NDF in Norway.
Concha has disappeared following the collapse of the peace talks but has been releasing statements online as NDF Panay spokesperson
She is also being sought by the PNP and the military after the peace talks collapsed.
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