TANJAY, Negros Oriental- Joint elements of the Army's 302nd Brigade and the Philippine National Police collared a top-ranking NPA leader in Central Visayas at around 10:30am here today.
Major General Jose Mabanta Jr, the Commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, identified the arrested notorious criminal as a certain Filemon Mendrez who has a standing warrant for a crime of robbery in band and rebellion.
Mendrez was nabbed by government forces which served the arrest warrant in Baranga Tubod, Manjuyod town here.
His name is included in the new joint Department of Interior and Local Government-Department of National Defense reward list with a P5.25 million bounty on his head.
Known as Tatay and Edon in the communist rebel group, Mendrez was the former head of Front Committee 2 in Central Visayas. He later became the Deputy head of the Central Visayas Revolutionary Party Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines before becoming the leader of the bandit group of the New People's Army in Negros island.
Despite the enforcement of the suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) and the holiday ceasefire, government forces are keeping its presence in local communities for law enforcement operations and security patrols to protect vital installations and communities.
Due to the growing number of civilian tipsters who are fed up by the abuses of the NPA bandits, more and more suspected criminals are arrested by government forces.
On December 21, three NPA bandits were apprehended in a military checkpoint based on a tip-off from a concerned resident in Mulanay town, Quezon.
The arrested bandits were identified as a certain Dennis Quidor, an NPA unit leader with an alias “Ka Anghel/Jabar; and his companions Eliseo Lopez and a 17-year-old male.
The bandits were carrying concealed carry pistols when collared by combined elements of the local police and soldiers from the 74th Infantry Battalion, while on board two motorcycle-for-hire.