Rebels earning a million a month through ‘extortion’, Army claims

By Jennifer P. Rendon

If extortion is business, then the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) could be one of the biggest traders there is, the Army claimed.

According to the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, the CPP-NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay (KR-P) is pocketing more than P1 million monthly from alleged extortion activities.

In making such assumptions, Captain Kim Apitong, 3rd ID spokesperson, cited the documents gathered during a search and seizure operation on a house occupied by suspected NPA members in Roxas City, Capiz.

Some of the documents indicated individuals and companies that served as the NPA’s “milking cows.”

“Sa isang tao, usually mababa na ang nakokolekta nilang P10,000 monthly,” Apitong said.

But he didn’t confirm the number of individuals and companies that were on the list.

As reports stated, construction firms could be the top “contributors.”

Philippine Army units, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), and the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) conducted the Integrated Military Police Operation on the house reportedly occupied by Lenilyn Jaynos, Cirila Estrada, and Marivie Arguelles at Block 4, Lot 17, Happy Homes Subdivision, Barangay Sibaguan, Roxas City, Capiz, around 11:30 a.m. of September 2.

Executive Judge Esperanza Isabela E Poco-Deslate of the Regional Trial Court 6 Branch 19 in Roxas City, Capiz, issued the search warrant for violation of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act and RA 9516 (Unlawful Manufacture, Sales, Acquisition, Disposition, Importation or Possession of an Explosive or Incendiary Device).

Only Jaynos, 45, was around during the search operation.

Jaynos, who also goes by the names Sandra and Elizabeth, is allegedly a member of the KR-P of Regional Finance KR-Panay.

Government operatives failed to arrest Estrada or alias Sheila Gonzales and Cora, an alleged KR-P Regional Organizing Department (ROD) staff, and Arguelles, whom the Army tagged as a community organizer and influencer in Capiz province.

But Apitong said previous stake-out operations confirmed the presence of Estrada and Gonzales in the said house.

Recovered during the operation were a caliber .45 Caspian pistol, a caliber .45 Colt pistol; two magazines and 82 ammunition for caliber .45 pistol; an MK2 hand grenade; a PRB 423 hand grenade; a “Gabriela” flag; and several other items.

Meanwhile, Major General Benedict Arevalo, 3rd ID commander, commended the relentless efforts of the Army and the PNP to put an end to NPA’s atrocities.

“The arrest of one of the NPA’s Regional Finance Staff in Panay will disrupt the terrorist group extortion scheme in the island,” Arevalo said.

With the effective convergence of various government security forces, Arevalo said they are confident that other remaining members of CPP-NPA-NDF working in the urban areas will also be arrested in time.