Parago’s successor in NPA falls
MANILA, Philippines — The successor of the slain New People’s Army regional commander in Southern Mindanao was captured Tuesday by combined elements of the military and police in Davao City, the Philippine Army reported on Wednesday.
Christopher Rollon alias Joel, commander of the Pulang Bagani Command 1, was nabbed together with three companions in Calinan District, shortly after noon. Rollon is believed to have succeeded Leoncio Pitao alias Parago who was killed in an encounter with the military a month ago. His companions were identified as Alexander Abalos Bartolome, Rannie Ninal and Mike Capito.
The Army said that Rollon was arrested by virtue of two warrants for crimes of robbery and attempted murder issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 16 of Davao City.
It said the four tried to evade a checkpoint, triggering a chase that ended in their apprehension.
An Army investigation has shown that Bartolome is a political officer for Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC), the regional unit of the NPAs covering Davao Region.
Recovered from the suspects is a .45 caliber pistol, two fragmentation grenades and several components of improvised explosive devices such as a detonating switch, blasting caps and wires.
“This arrest is a result of the overwhelming support by the community in our peace and development efforts,” said Brig. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., acting Division Commander of 10th Infantry Division.
“The information they provided has translated into success in our efforts to clean up the community and free them of the terrorism brought by the NPAs,” Madrigal said.
The Army said that for 2015, the 10th Infantry Agila Division has neutralized 16 key NPA leaders, including Parago. Of this number, five died during encounters with government forces while 11 were captured.
Also, 135 rebels have surrendered to government and have now availed themselves of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program, which is being implemented through the local government units.
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