Ex-NPA captured by rebels released
BACOLOD CITY—The New People’s Army (NPA) has released from captivity on Dec. 25 a member of a breakaway communist faction who had been held since Dec. 10.
Members of the NPA freed Cerilo Bagnoran, a member of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB), who had been captured by the rebels in La Castellana town during a raid on a cock farm owned by another RPA-ABB member identified as Rene Uropa.
Uropa, who had also been a target for capture by the NPA, was able to escape.
RPA-ABB is composed of former NPA members who broke off from the mainstream rebel underground movement over differences in strategies and ideology.
RPA-ABB has since entered into a peace agreement with the government, under the then administration of deposed President Joseph Estrada.
The release of Bagnoran came after Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon and Bagnoran’s family appealed to the NPA to free Bagnoran as a Christmas gift to his loved ones.
The plea was heeded as NPA rebels freed Bagnoran on Christmas Day at a chapel in the village of Macagahay in Moises Padilla town, Negros Occidental province.
In a statement, the NPA Leonardo Panaligan Command-Bagong Hukbong Bayan, the communist guerrilla unit operating in Negros Occidental, said Bagnoran was captured for trial by a revolutionary court for alleged involvement in the murder of two persons whose families had sought the help of the NPA.
The statement said Bagnoran was freed after he was found not guilty.
It said Bagnoran had been charged with the killings of Cristy Florendia, of La Castellana town, and bibingka vendor Elmer Macurba, of Guihulngan town in Negros Oriental.
The NPA statement was signed by NPA leaders Heneroso Siliang and Nadren Alberastin, presumably noms de guerre.
The statement said an NPA investigating team found that when Florendia was killed in 2012, Bagnoran was confined in a hospital.
Bagnoran was also recovering from an illness and could not have taken part in the alleged torture of Macurba in 2015 inside a safehouse of RPA-ABB.
Communist rebels on Panay Island earlier said they would step up attacks against government troopers and vowed to help frustrate administration efforts to consolidate votes on the island for the Liberal Party standard-bearer, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
In a statement marking its recent founding anniversary, the Panay regional committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines said attacks launched by the NPA on the island in 2015 demonstrated the strength of the rebel movement in Panay. With report from Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Inquirer Visayas
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