Waiting for campaign fees, top Samar reb captured
MANILA, Philippines—The military recently arrested a ranking commander of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Samar while allegedly waiting for the turnover of the permit-to-campaign (PTC) and permit-to-win (PTW) fees collected from candidates in the province, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Friday.
The military identified the NPA commander as Renato Abadiano who was said to have held various positions in the communist insurgents’ Samar Provincial Party Committee.
Abadiano was arrested at a safehouse in Barangay Dolores during a joint operation of the Army’s 87th Infantry Battalion 801st Infantry Brigade and the municipal police of San Sebastian town.
“Identified as Renato Abadiano, the NPA leader was reported to be waiting for the arrival of the permit-to-campaign and permit-to-win fees and other extorted items from political candidates seeking elective positions this coming May 13 elections,” the military said.
Seized from Abadiano were a .45-caliber pistol, improvised explosive devices, blasting caps, subversive documents, personal belongings and campaign paraphernalia of NPA- supported election candidates, the military said.
The military said that local residents reported Abadiano’s presence in the area. Residents also told security forces that Abadiano was responsible for the collection of PTCs and PTWs since the start of the campaign period.
The residents also claimed that it was Abadiano’s group that attacked a construction company in Brgy. Pabanog, Paranas town last April 25 after the owner refused to “give in to the extortion scheme of the rebels,” the military added.
Abadiano’s group supposedly shot the tires and fuel tanks of the heavy equipment owned by the company.
Abadiano reportedly has a standing warrant of arrest for murder with no bail recommended and another warrant for attempted murder with the use of an unlicensed firearm.
Capt. Amado Gutierrez, spokesperson of the 8th Infantry Division, credited the locals’ cooperation with the military’s “good rapport with the people, much more so with the local candidates who are no longer willing to support the extortion scheme of the NPAs.”
Maj. Gen. Gerardo Layug, the 8th ID commanding general, said the arrest of Abadiano was the third time that Army troops had “thwarted” the extortion activities of the rebels.
“This only shows that since the reports came from the civilians themselves, they are already tired of giving logistical support to the NPAs,” Layug said in a statement.
Layug said the NPAs had resorted to “sheer banditry in harassing and intimidating” Samarnons.
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