Thursday, December 27, 2012

Government Hooks Top Rebel Leader in Central Visayas and Negros Island

From the Negros Daily Bulletin (Dec 27): Government Hooks Top Rebel Leader in Central Visayas and Negros Island

The joint forces of 302nd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army, and the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office, have collared the number 6 most wanted NPA leader in the country. Reports from Col. Francisco Patrimonio, commanding officer, 302nd Inf. Brigade reveal that with elements from the Negros Oriental Provincial Police office and the army were armed with warrant of arrest against Felimon Mendrez, alias Tatay/Edon for criminal case numbers 2116 for robbery in band, and CC 00-662 for rebellion with no bail recommended.

As number 6 top NPA leader who heads the NPAs in Central Visayas and Negros Island, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of National Defense (DND) is included in the reward list where his arrest has a reward of P5.25 million. Mendrez is now detained at Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office.  Military record shows that Mendrez was the former secretary of the Front Committee 2-Central Visayas Regional Party Committee who became the Deputy Secretary of the same regional committee operating in Central Visayas, and the current Commanding Officer of Regional Strike Force-Komiteng Rehiyon Negros, a major regional NPA unit responsible for the conduct of large tactical offensives.

Mendrez led various NPA violent actions and the most significant was the raid of Pulopangyan Detachment in Brgy. Bug-ang, Toboso Negros Occidental on 28 August 2010 wherein he was directly involved in the planning and execution. His group is also responsible for the exploitation of the poor masses and in extortion activities that severely violated the human rights of residents both in Central Visayas and Negros Island.

Patrimonio said the successful arrest of Mendrez can be attributed to the concerted efforts of the Philippine Army, PNP and other stakeholders involved in the security sector and the general public. It is a clear manifestation that the residents of said communities are now more aware, open to provide information and they have realized that armed struggle is a futile idealism to address the peace and security challenges in the country.

Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta, Jr., commanding general, 3rd ID said, "Law enforcement operation shall continue even as we observe a Suspension of Offensive Military Operation and ceasefire. This is part of the activities of security forces’ duties in protecting communities, government and private establishment." He also said, "the arrest has given a better opportunity for us in Central Visayas to celebrate the holidays more peacefully."

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