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Army says top Western Mindanao rebel caught

OZAMIZ CITY — The military said soldiers had captured what authorities described as the most wanted communist rebel in Western Mindanao.

Since Thursday, the alleged rebel leader had been detained at the city police station along with an Aglipayan bishop who was with the alleged rebel when they were stopped at a checkpoint.

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The military identified the rebel as Rommel Salinas, allegedly the secretary of the Communist Party unit known as Section Committee Sendong charge of Misamis Occidental province.

Secom Sendong is the largest unit of the CPP’s Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee.

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The Aglipayan prelate was identified as Ozamiz Bishop Carlo Morales of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente which owned the van that was stopped at a checkpoint in the Gango village here.

When the vehicle and their belongings were searched, the police said a grenade wrapped in plastic was found in Salinas’ backpack. Salinas denied owning the explosive.

The two other people in the vehicle were driver Sadome Dalid and Morales’ wife Teofilina.

Salinas initially presented an identification card bearing the name Hermie Abella, a consultant of the National Democratic Front in Mindanao.

But Brigadier General Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of the army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, said Salinas was identified and arrested after thorough coordination with authorities.

Bautista said the 45-year-old rebel leader from Butuan City was the subject of at least five arrest warrants issued by courts in Surigao City.

Lawmen also found in Salinas’ bag P80,700, which he claimed was provided by the NDF for consultation activities.

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TAGS: CPP, most wanted communist rebel, Philippine Army, Rommel Salinas, Section Committee Sendong, Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee
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