In the joint police and military operation in Barangay Villalangit, Sibagat, Agusan del Sur, a ranking member of the New People’s Army was captured.
According to reports from the Eastern Mindanao Command on February 25, Pablito Campos, also known as “Batik” or “Ponsoy,” front secretary of the Guerrilla Front 21A was captured by Sibagat police and the troops from the 3rd Special Forces Battalion under the 401st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army.
Eastmincom spokesman, Maj. Ezra Balagtey, said the operation also resulted in the confiscation of an M4 rifle, a fully loaded long magazine, three cellular phones, and one backpack containing one hand grenade from Campos’ possession.
More arrest of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army members is expected by Col. Andres Centino, commander of the 401st IB through focused operations against the organizations which have been derailing development in the rural areas. Centino said the capture of Campos shows that security forces adhere to the rule of law and the International Human Rights law.
Centino added that Campos would face trial for all “atrocious acts [committed] against the people.” Campos has been accused for the failed ambush of the Sibagat police personnel last July 29, 2017 at El Rio, Sibagat, Agusan del Sur.
Campos has eight standing warrants of arrest for crimes of rebellion, frustrated murder, multiple attempted murder, kidnapping and serious illegal detention issued by different regional court offices in Lianga, Surigao del Sur and Bayugan City, according to Centino.
According to the spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division, 1st Lt, Teresita Ingente, the capture of Campos is seen as another setback of the CPP-NPA for being the brains behind Front Committee 21A, the top propagandist and the one who allegedly decided on the extortion and abduction activities of the NPA.
Campos was also behind the recruitment of NPA members in Sibagat, Bayugan and San Miguel, Agusan del Sur, said Ingente.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has been urging members of the NPA and the supporters to give up and lead normal lives.
According to reports from Balagtey, since January the 401st IB already neutralized a number of CPP-NPA members from Agusan Sur and Surigao Del Sur. Balagtey said four have been captured while 57 have surrendered because of the military’s relentless operations. Also, 26 firearms and more than 100 improvised explosive devices, thousands of ammunition were seized.