IED. The recovered improvised explosive device (IED) from a suspected member of the New People’s Army arrested in a village in Koronadal City on Saturday morning (September 8, 2018). (Photo by Alejandro Saludo)
GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Joint Army and police personnel recovered an improvised explosive device (IED) from a suspected member of the New People’s Army (NPA), who was arrested in a village in Koronadal City on Saturday morning.
Koronadal City police chief, Supt. Benjiel Kirby Bajo, said the explosive was found at about 8:40 a.m. inside the room of suspect Maria Malaya Fernandez, 30, at a boarding house in Navarro Subdivision, Barangay General Paulino Santos.
He said Fernandez was nabbed based on a warrant of arrest for kidnapping and serious illegal detention issued by Tacurong City Regional Trial Court Branch 20 Judge Melanio Guerrero.
The case stemmed from the abduction of Sgt. Solaiman Calocop and Private First Class Samuel Garay of the Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Telafas, Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat on Feb. 2, 2017.
Calocop and Garay were released two months later by the NPA’s Mt. Alip Command in Davao del Sur province.
Bajo said Fernandez, who hails from Columbio town, arrived in the city only on Friday as monitored by elements of the Military Intelligence Group (MIG) and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).
He said the MIG and ISAFP, who led the operation, had long been tracking down her movements.
During a search of the suspect’s room, the police official said they found the IED hidden inside a box.
He said the explosive was made of an M-203 rifle grenade that was placed inside a polyvinyl chloride or PVC pipe measuring about three inches long and three inches wide.
Three blasting caps were also found inside the box, with one connected to a black wire and the other two placed inside a plastic bottle.
The recovered items were immediately secured by responding personnel from the South Cotabato police’s explosives ordnance disposal unit.
“This could have been intended for a planned attack in the area. It’s fortunate that we were able to recover it early,” Bajo said in an interview.
He said the suspect was allegedly a medic of the NPA’s Front 72 that operates in the Sultan Kudarat town of Columbio and neighboring areas.
Fernandez is now in the custody of the MIG and ISAFP pending her formal presentation to the court that issued the warrant for her arrest.