Rebel leader’s arrest to cripple NPA operations in Panay – Army

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Just like most organizations, finances are crucial to keeping the New People’s Army (NPA) afloat.

With the arrest of Francisco Balois, alias Tonying, the rebel group’s operations are expected to suffer a significant blow.

“Balois is a notorious extortionist. He’s the hand behind the NPA’s extortion activities on businessmen and politicians,” said Brigadier General Michael Samson, commander of the Philippine Army’s 301st Infantry Brigade.

Balois made his mark in the Central Front by threatening businessmen who refused to give in to their extortion demands.

Samson said that Balois led a group of NPA rebels who set fire to two heavy pieces of equipment of a construction firm in broad daylight at Jamindan, Capiz, on March 9, 2023.

They burned a backhoe and a mini dump truck (license plate CAM 7927) belonging to MBM Construction Supply.

“Balois is adept at these activities. It was something he mastered over the years with the communist group,” Samson added.

With their alleged extortion activities hit hard, it would mean hunger and a lack of logistical support for NPA combatants.

“The arrest of Balois could lead to more NPA rebels surrendering due to increased hunger,” Samson said.

Aside from its financial impact, Balois’ arrest also demonstrates that the government provides an opportunity for individuals like Balois, who has a string of criminal charges, to face justice.

“He wasn’t killed. He will have his day in court,” Samson said.

Lastly, Balois’ arrest is proof that the law will always catch up with you. “Indeed, you can’t hide forever,” Samson added.

The 64-year-old Balois, an alleged NPA leader who led the rebel group in countless armed clashes with government troops, was arrested after years of manhunt operations.

Balois, considered a high-value individual operating under the NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay, was apprehended on the morning of June 25 at Sitio Ensewalan, Barangay Tapulang, Maayon, Capiz.

Based on police and military records, the wanted NPA leader heads Squad Dos of KR-P’s Madia-as Platoon.

Members of the Maayon Municipal Police Station, together with members of the Philippine Army’s 82nd and 12th Infantry Brigades and the 1st Capiz Provincial Mobile Force Company, served nine arrest warrants against the suspect.

These include five counts of rebellion, murder with the use of an unlicensed firearm, and violation of Section 2 in relation to Section 3(b) of Presidential Decree 532 (Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974).

Balois is also facing charges for robbery in band and illegal possession of explosives with multiple frustrated murders.

Operatives seized a caliber .45 pistol with five magazines loaded with ammunition, a hand grenade, and a handheld radio from Balois. His arrest carries a reward of P150,000.


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