The 4th Infantry Division (4ID) of the Philippine Army announced the capture of two top-ranking leaders of the Regional White Area Committee (RWAC) of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in the Caraga region in a joint law enforcement operation conducted in Quezon City at dawn Friday.
In a statement, the 4ID identified the two CPP-NPA leaders as Julieta Gomez, alias Tina, 39, secretary of the Regional Urban Committee of NEMRC and deputy secretary of RWAC-NEMRC, and a resident of Purok 2, Barangay Mahayahay, San Luis, Agusan del Sur; and Niezel Velasco, alias Mary Jane Velasco, 39, the regional liaison of NEMRC and a resident of Purok Tulay, Barangay San Agustin Sur, Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.
“The two top leaders of the CPP-NPA in Caraga region were arrested during the joint Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) operation and service of arrest warrants in Kaingin 1, Barangay Paso, Quezon City,” the 4ID said.
The two CPP-NPA leaders, it added, are facing one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder charges with arrest warrants issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 27 in Tandag City, RTC Branch 28 in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, and RTC Branch 34 in Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte.
The 4ID added that Gomez is also a member of the Regional Tax Mapping Implementing Group of the CPP-NPA in Caraga.
Confiscated from the two were four M4 5.56 Rifles, one 9MM Parabellum pistol with SN OSL123156, one 9MM magazine with 14 live ammunition, 10 pieces of rifle barrels, eight subversive documents composed of books and a booklet, one NPA flag, 1,000 live ammunition for caliber 7.62, one traveling bag, one hand grenade smoke riot, one M26 hand grenade, one hand grenade PRB 423, and two cell phones.
In the same statement, Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., commander of 4ID, said the fall of the two top-ranking CPP-NPA leaders in Caraga was the result of the convergence of efforts of the AFP, PNP, and other law enforcement agencies.
“The AFP-PNP troops tirelessly tracked down these CPP-NPA leaders. With the help of information from civilian residents, we were able to neutralize and finally bring them to justice to face their crimes for pestering communities and sabotaging the peace and development that the Caraganons were longing for,” Brawner said.
He also underscored the abuse and inequality among the CPP-NPA rank and file as the arrested leaders were comfortably hiding in a cozy place in Quezon City while their ordinary members are experiencing hunger in the mountains and remote places.
“I enjoin everyone to condemn the barbaric killings perpetrated by the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) and for instilling fear towards our people. While we offer better opportunities for those who will voluntarily return to live in peace, we shall run after the murderers who have no regard for the lives and welfare of our people,” Brawner said.