FORT MAGSAYSAY, Laur, Nueva Ecija - Six NPA rebels including three of its top-ranking leaders were captured in an encounter with government forces in Santa Rosa town, Nueva Ecija, Wednesday, 28 March, an Army official said.
Col. Hilario Vicente C. Lagnada, the Commander of the 56th Infantry Battalion said that he sent a platoon of his soldiers led by Capt. Noel Wamil in order to support the local police in serving search warrant in a suspected NPA hide-out in Santo Nińo village of the said town.
The joint patrolling elements were approaching an isolated farmhouse in the said village when they were met with gunfire from the rebels who occupied the said hut, prompting the soldiers to retaliate.
There was a 10-minute exchange of gunfire before some of the rebels fled with their casualties.
Six of the rebels were cornered by the troops and raised their arms to surrender.
One of them was identified as Efren Delalamon known as “Baste”. He sustained a gunshot wound in the arm and was immediately treated by the Army’s combat medics.
The other arrested rebels were identified as Carla Ramos Bautista aka “Joy”, a political instructor of the Central Luzon Regional Committee (CLRC), Andres Lapuz Ely aka “Marco”, John Michael Ilito, Felix Sarabia and Ambrosio Ilito.
They are now detained at the provincial police office for the inquest proceedings facilitated by Nueva Ecija PNP chief Police Senior Superintendent Francisco Aliggayu..
Also retrieved from the captured rebels were 2 hand grenades, 5 live ammunition for cal 45, 121 live ammunition for M16, 1 Black Toshiba Laptop, 1 portable generator set, 1 icom radio, 1 handcuff, 3 Nokia cellphones, assorted medical paraphernalia and medicines and money worth 116,000 pesos.
Col. Vic Castro, the newly installed Commander of the 702nd Infantry Brigade, has commended the operating troops for their latest accomplishment.
He cited the soldiers for protecting the rights of the captured rebels.
“The actions of our soldiers and policemen are highly commendable. We have just shown that we are not after the killing of these misguided fellow Filipinos. We are hopeful that they will realize the futility of their cause after being given another chance at life,” Castro said.
Brig. Gen. Alan R. Luga, the Commander of the 7th Infantry Division expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the civilian residents in the area. He also said that the arrest of the rebels is a big blow on the part of the CPP-NPA-NDF (CNN) in Central Luzon.
“I would like to thank the civilian informant who courageously provided us vital information about the rebels’ criminal activities in the spirit of bayanihan. We will never abandon our mandate of protecting the people and the communities as embodied in our campaign strategy IPSP Bayanihan. I hope that the CNN will refrain from using armed violence because it is not acceptable to the Filipino people who are also affected in the conflict,” he said.
Luga has also directed his men to pursue the remnants of the rebel group after receiving more information about their whereabouts today.