Communist leader arrested in Pampanga
Location: Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines
Date Published: February 18, 2020
Law enforcement authorities reported that they have apprehended an alleged leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Angeles City in Pampanga.
But the 72-year old Rodolfo Salas, more popularly known before as Commander Blog, has reportedly quit the Communist rebel movement and has instead focused on organizing cooperatives in Central Luzon in recent years.
Armed with arrest warrants for 44 counts of murder, among others, local police nabbed Salas in his house in Balibago, Angeles City.
“The peaceful service of warrant of arrest and the orderly search was made in the presence of barangay officials and suspect’s live in partner,” a PNP statement read.
Seized from Salas were a .45 pistol, 174 pieces of different ammunition and two magazines for .45 pistol.
Salas headed the CPP at the peak of the communist rebellion in the mid-1980s. It was under him that the CPP decided to boycott the 1986 snap elections that eventually triggered the Edsa revolt and catapulted former President Cory Aquino to power.
The CPP was heavily criticized for that boycott position, which many said isolated the Left from the people power revolt.
He held the rare position of being chairman of the CPP and at the same time commander of the NPA.
He was arrested in 1987 and detained in Camp Crame. After his release in 1992, Salas returned to Pampanga where he organized farmers and cooperatives. In a television interview before, Salas said he was already concentrating on helping farmers and other groups to form cooperatives.
Salas is currently under police custody and will be slapped with a charge for illegal possession of firearms.
Meanwhile, two high-ranking leaders of the NPA and one of its members were killed in an encounter in Ilagan City, Isabela over the weekend, the military reported on Monday. The Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division (ID) encountered NPA units of the Central Front and Regional Sentro De-Grabidad ng Komiteng Rehiyong-Cagayan Valley on Sunday after receiving tips the rebels have been asking money from the residents of Barangay Rang-ayan in Ilagan City.
Maj. Ericson Bulosan, the spokesman of the military’s Northern Luzon Command, said troops of the 5th ID first urged the rebels to surrender. But the rebels responded by firing their guns.
The two alleged high-ranking leaders were identified only through their aliases “Bobby” and “Princess,” a team leader and medical officer, respectively. The other fatality had no identity. During the firefight, three rebels were cornered, including a 16-year-old.