Rebel leader convicted for murder

Ma. Concepcion “Concha” Araneta-Bocala

By Jennifer P. Rendon

A key leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) from Iloilo was convicted of murder in an incident that happened 47 years ago.

Ma. Concepcion Araneta-Bocala, alleged secretary general of Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay (KR-P), was found guilty by the Regional Trial Court-NCR Branch 266 in Taguig City for the murder of a certain Metodio Inisa.

Bocala was sentenced to suffer the imprisonment of reclusion perpetua.

The Philippine Army’s 301st Infantry Battalion released the information in a statement.

The case stemmed from the killing of Inisa evening of Sept. 18, 1975 at Sitio Agbanuod, Barangay Panipiason, Madalag, Aklan.

Brigadier General Marion Sison, 301st IB commander, has urged the public and even members of the CPP-NPA-NDF to voluntarily report to law enforcers any information on Bocala’s whereabouts.

Concha remains missing to this day.

She was charged for rebellion under Criminal Case No. 18652, the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) report showed.

Prior to this, the PRO-6 released the names of nine rebel leaders with monetary reward,

Given the bounty on her head and the death of her husband, Reynaldo Bocala, in a police encounter on May 28, 2021, Concha remains elusive.

Police and military operatives have been on active manhunt operations against her since 2017.

Numerous operations launched against Bocala that went as far as Masbate and other parts of Western Visayas.

But it is believed that she is still in Panay Island to project that she is still in control.

The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has earlier tagged as terrorists CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison and 18 other CPP officials, including Bocala, along with 10 Abu Sayyaf Group (ASH) bandits.

Authorities began the hunt for Bocala in February 2017 after President Rodrigo Duterte gave his verbal order on the arrest of the NDF consultants.

While there were only NDF 21 consultants, at least 40 CPP-NPA-NDF leaders were released, as part of the government’s confidence-building measures.

The NDF consultants, including Bocala, were temporarily released from detention August 2016 to take part in the peace negotiations.

But on Nov. 23, 2017, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 360, which formally terminated the peace talks with the communist rebels.

The termination came after NPA rebels conducted several attacks targeting government troops.

Under the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), it is said that protection and immunities are revoked 30 days following receipt of the formal notice on the termination of the peace negotiations.

Bocala, 71, was arrested in a rented house at Juntado Subdivision, Barangay Calumpang, Molo, Iloilo City on Aug. 1, 2015 for murder and rebellion charges.