An alleged leader of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) was arrested on Thursday (March 19) by a joint team of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
Authorities identified the suspect as Gloria Campos Tomalon alias "Bae Glo," whom authorities said has links with the leftist Indigenous People's group Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumosunod (MAPASU).
MAPASU was tagged by the military and the police as being influenced and having links with the communist rebels in Barangay Diatagon--a flashpoint for NPA activities.
In a statement on Thursday, 1Lt. Krisjuper Andreo Punsalan, the civil-military operations (CMO) officer of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn) of the Army, said Campos was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest under criminal case no. 6527 for kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
Punsalan said Tomalon is the sister of Pablito Sinzo Campos, the NPA leader arrested last 2018 in Sibagat, Agusan del Sur, and Emelda Campos Belandres, another NPA leader who is wanted for various crimes.
Tomalon was allegedly linked to the NPA attack last month in Sitio Emerald, Barangay Diatagon that wounded three civilians, and the failed ambush against government troopers on February 19.
Col. Allan Hambala, commander of the Army's 401st Infantry Brigade, commended the Army and PNP personnel involved in the operation and the arrest of Tomalon.
Hambala also cited the help of the residents in the area, particularly the indigenous peoples (IPs) that led to the arrest of the suspect.
In the same statement, Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 (Caraga) director, Brig. Gen. Joselito Esquivel, underscored the support of the residents in the area in "suppressing the threats posed by terrorism in our region".
“With the arrest of the high-ranking CNT members and the surrender of thousands of former rebels, way to go we will achieve lasting peace and prosperity in the Caraga Region," Esquivel said.
Meanwhile, Punsalan bared the presence of NPA personalities taking refuge in Sitio Han-ayan (Kilometer 16) in Diatagon who are allegedly using civilians as a shield to evade government forces.
Punsalan said that with Tumalon's arrest, they are bracing for possible criticisms relating to human rights violations from the siblings and relatives of Tumalon, including Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Campos Cullamat and some leaders of MAPASU.
“Expect that they will also condemn what we have done, by accusing us of attacking the IPs. But all these are among the old playbooks and strategies they play to cover up their members. The arrest was conducted on a legal and constitutional basis,” Punsalan said
Source: Philippines News Agency