Three alleged rebels nabbed in Calatrava

Local military troopers and police officers arrested three alleged leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) at Sitio Pinamactinan, Barangay Cambayobo, Calatrava, Negros Occidental on Friday, Jan. 6. (Photo courtesy of 3ID)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – Colonel Michael Samson, acting commander of Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), said recovery efforts of the dismantled Northern Negros Front (NNF) continue following the arrest of three alleged leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Calatrava, Negros Occidental last Friday, Jan. 6.

Authorities identified these NPA personalities as:

-Felix Susas Jr., 45, of Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, with aliases “Rigor,” ‘Kenneth,” “Glemore,” and “Dapin,” commander of SYP Platoon and secretary of NNF;

-his wife Jalen Susas, 35, of Guihulngan City, with aliases “Cristel,” “Izumi,” and “CG,” medical staff, acting finance officer, member, and educational staff of NNF; and

-Cheryl Catalogo, 27, of Escalante City, Negros Occidental, alias “Celo,” a member and educational staff.

The trio was collared after the 79th Infantry Battalion (IB), 6th Special Action Battalion of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF), Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB)-6, 1st Negros Occidental Provincial Mobile Force Company and municipal police stations of Calatrava and Toboso conducted a joint operation.

The operation was in reaction to complaints from residents on the alleged presence of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA rebels allegedly conducting extortion activities at Sitio Pinamactinan, Barangay Cambayobo, Calatrava town.

Confiscated from them were some war materiel, including two .45 caliber pistols, a .9mm caliber pistol, four rifle grenades, two magazines and seven live ammunition of .45 caliber pistol, a magazine, and 18 live ammunition of .9mm caliber pistol, a holster, 11 wallets containing a total of P4,106 cash, three backpacks, and some personal belongings.

According to a report from the 3rd Infantry Division (ID), Felix has a standing arrest warrant for violation of Republic Act (RA) 10591 or Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Law. He is also facing homicide charges with a recommended bail of P120,000.

He is also facing two murder complaints for the death of Renato Estrebillo in Barangay Marcelo, Calatrava town on August 12, 2022, and Barangay Lalong Captain Benjamin Javoc in Calatrava town on August 26, 2022.

Murder charges have been filed by the police against the perpetrators even before the Roselyn Jean Pelle Command-Northern Negros Guerilla Front of the NPA (RJPC-NPA) owned up to the killings in Calatrava town.

A cash reward amounting to P500,000 was earlier offered for the arrest of Roger Fabillar alias “Arnel Tapang” or “Jhong,” who was also tagged in the Calatrava killings, including the deaths of Javoc and Estrebillo.

Samson said that Fabillar, who is still at large, and the three arrested suspects just belong to one group which is composed of remnants of the dismantled NNF.

“They (NNF) are trying to recover by using violence against the hindrances or those who want to hamper their efforts,” Samson said. Thus, he noted that they are using military or police action as a response.

With the arrest of these personalities, Samson said that they can prove to the residents that NPA rebels cannot just escape the hand of justice and that they have to face the consequences of what they do.

Aside from the Calatrava killings, Samson said that this group was also behind the two burning incidents in Toboso town in December 2022.