Arrest of leader another blow to NPA
A COMMUNIST rebel commander, said to be Kumander Parago’s replacement, was arrested in a random police and military checkpoint yesterday at 12 noon in Calinan District.
Christopher Rollon, a leader of Pulang Bagani Command 1 in Southern Mindanao Regional Command (SMRC), was arrested by virtue of warrant of arrest for crime of robbery and attempted murder filed before the Regional Trial Court 11, Branch 16.
The checkpoint was manned by the combined forces of the 10th Military Intelligence Battalion,1003rd Infantry Brigade, 69th Infantry Battalion, 84th IB, Task Force Davao, Intelligence Service of AFP (ISAFP) and the Calinan Police Predinct.
An army source said that Rollon took over the leadership vacuum when Leoncio Pitao alias Kumander Parago was killed last month.
The Calinan precinct commander, Chief Insp. Randy Sambalo, confirmed that they arrested Rollon, and three other unidentified men, and were transferred to the main headquarters for security reasons.
To date, the military is still identifying three other men who were with Rellon at the time of his arrest.
He said that Rollon was on board a motorcycle with another man when they were flagged down at the checkpoint. However, they sped off prompting the authorities to give chase.
The source claimed that the NPA suffered another setback with the arrest of Rollon.
“They couldn’t sustain their forces anymore,” the army officer said. “So far, we have not received reports that they are gaining forces after the death of Parago.”
Recovered from their possession were one .45 caliber pistol; two fragmentation grenades, cell phones, subversive documents and personal belongings. The three motorcycles used were also impounded.
Last June 28 ,Pitao was killed in a reported encounter with government troops in Purok 9, Barangay Panalum in Paquibato District around 2:30 p.m.
Maj. Gen. Eduardo M. Aňo , commander of 10th Infantry Division, in an interview confirmed that Pitao, leader of the Pulang Bagani Command 1, was killed in a clash.
Ano said the encounter was a special operation spearheaded by the Scout Ranger Company, 69th Infantry Battalion, Task Force Minion and Military Intelligence Battalion under the 10th Infantry Division.
Troops were also able to recover two M16 rifles, three rifle grenades and three backpacks.
According to military accounts, Parago was able to evade the authorities who wanted to serve the arrest warrant on June 14 when the military received a tip that the NPA leader was in the house of Aida Seisa, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas leader, in Paradise Embac, Paquibato District.
Soldiers under 69th Infantry Battalion were deployed to serve the arrest warrant against Parago and another NPA leader.
“They were fired upon upon approaching the encounter site,” he said. “Anggoy and Parago escaped during the encounter.”
Three were killed, identified as Poligario Quimbo, Datu Ruben Cainlog and Datu Randy Carnasa, and the military claimed that they were members of New People’s Army.