Top NPA secretary arrested in Mexico, Pampanga
Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija – The head of the NPA’s Regional White Area Committee (RWAC) of the Central Luzon Regional Committee (CLRC) finally fell into the hands of the law as joint efforts of the Philippine Army, the PNP, and other security agencies led to the arrest of the high ranking NPA on Friday (December 4) in Mexico, Pampanga.
Jose Bernardino, who goes by several aliases (Rico, Oying, Raffy, Randy, and Code Name Ali), notorious for leading the group’s extortion activities and youth recruitment in the urban areas of Central Luzon.
According to Major General Alfredo V. Rosario Jr., Commander of the 7th Infantry “Kaugnay” Division (7ID), Philippine Army, Bernardino had a standing warrant of arrest with no bail recommended. Judge Paul Attolba Jr. of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 30 in Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya issued the warrant with criminal case number 5090 in 2018. This was used to apprehend Bernardino who was on board a tricycle during that time in Barangay Sapang Maisac, along the Magalang-Angeles Road in Mexico, Pampanga.
The arrest yielded a caliber .45 pistol, one hand grenade, five cellular phones, a Toshiba laptop, an NPA flag, and subversive documents all placed in a back pack.
“Sa ngayon, si Bernardino ay nasa Headquarters ng CIDG (Community Investigation and Detection Group) – Region III sa San Fernando, Pampanga. Naka-turn over na rin sa kanila ang mga na-recover natin during the arrest,” said Lieutenant Colonel Felix Emeterio M. Valdez, Commanding Officer of the 7ID’s 48th Infantry Battalion. (Right now, Bernardino is at the CIDG-Region III Headquarters in San Fernando, Pampanga. The recovered materials during the arrest have also been turned-over to them.)
With the main thrust of the government geared towards ending the local communist armed conflict, the capture of the NPA’s top officer in RWAC, CLRC can be considered a serious blow to the movement and structure of the said group.
“Isang malaking puntos ito sa atin. Higit na hihina ngayon ang kanilang (the NPA’s) samahan sa pagkawala ng kanilang mataas na opisyal. Patunay ito na ang pinaigting na pagtutulungan ng Philippine Army at PNP ay mahalaga upang magupo ang kalaban. Hindi magtatagal ay tuluyan ng mawawalan ng direksyon at saysay ang kanilang panggugulo. It would be better for the remaining NPA to surrender now and take advantage of the benefits that the government is offering while it is still there for them,” stated Major Gen. Rosario Jr.
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