From InterAksyon (May 12): ‘Most wanted’ Western Mindanao NPA commander captured – Army
The military said soldiers and police captured what authorities described as the “most wanted” commander of the New People’s Army in Western Mindanao in Zamboanga del Sur province Thursday.
The Army’s 1st Infantry Division said Rommel Salinas, alias Venico, Beto, Carlos, Doming, Artem and Mark, was with Bishop Carlo Morales of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, also known as the Aglipayan church, the cleric’s wife Marie Teofifina Morales, and their driver Sadome Dalid in a van intercepted in Barangay Gango, Ozamis City around 6 p.m. by personnel of the 102d Infantry Brigade and the provincial police.
Salinas, allegedly a front secretary of the rebels’ Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee, is facing criminal charges for destructive arson, urder, frustrated murder, attempted murder and robbery in band.
A hand grenade was allegedly seized from him, the Army said.
Meanwhile, the IFI has protested what it called the “illegal” arrest and detention of Morales, his wife and driver.
A handcuffed IFI Bishop Carlo Morales is seen in this photo posted on social media by his supporters.
A statement signed by Bishop Antonio Ablon of the church’s Pagadian diocese said even Morales was indeed in the company of someone wanted by the law, “we find no reason that the good IFI Bishop of Ozamiz will be illegally arrested, handcuffed and illegally detained in jail” after “he had fully introduced himself as a Bishop.”
The church demanded Morales’ release, calling his arrest “a clear violation of human rights and on person who is a religious leader or a bishop that has an obligation to provide protection or sanctuary to a person who is in distress or politically persecuted.”