Government forces arrested early Friday a suspected high ranking official of the New People's Army (NPA) and four others for possession of firearms and ammunition at the alleged communist terrorist group's safe houses here.
Armed with a search warrant, the operatives of the Philippine Army and Philippine National Police arrested Frenchie Mae Castro Cumpio, 22, in one of the safe houses. The military identified her as secretary of NPA's regional white area committee in Eastern Visayas.
Four other activists and former student leaders were arrested in a simultaneous raid in two houses around 2 a.m.
They were identified as Marielle Domequil, Alexander Philip Abinguna, Marissa Cabaljao, and Mira Legion, the Philippine Army 8th Infantry Division said in a statement.
However, the statement did not specify who among the four were arrested along with Cumpio.
A police report said the suspects yielded two caliber 45 pistols, two magazine assemblies for caliber 45, 14 live ammunition for caliber 45, two fragmentation grenades, a red flag with Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA symbol, and PHP557, 360 in cash. The confiscation of the evidence was witnessed by barangay officials.
The houses which the authorities raided are in Fatima village and on Calanipawan Street. It was unspecified from which house the confiscated weapons and money came from.
Executive Judge Eligio Petilla of Regional Trial Court Branch 44 in Tacloban City issued the search warrant on Feb. 3, 2020.
Cumpio is a former student of the University of the Philippines Tacloban campus. Her social media account identified her as a reporter of Eastern Vista, a pro-communist online publication.
The suspects are charged with violation of Republic Act 10591 or otherwise known as An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunitions.
Reports disclosed that these houses were being maintained by the communist terrorist group (CTG) of Eastern Visayas as their safe houses in Tacloban City. Incidental to the lawful search, the government security forces arrested the CTG personalities who were found to have actual possession of illegal firearms, ammunition and other contraband items inside the searched houses, the Army statement said.
The suspects and confiscated items are now under the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group regional field unit in Tacloban City.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Source: Philippines News Agency