KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 3 Aug) – Authorities arrested on Thursday in the municipality of Makilala in North Cotabato a leader of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) whose operations include North Cotabato and Davao del Sur, a military official said.
Col. Roberto Angcan, commander of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade, identified the suspect as Ariel Rebuta, also known as “Sering”, head of the Yunit Militia (YUMIL) of the NPA’s Front 51.
Two of Rebuta’s followers, one of them his son Sergio and the other still unidentified, were also apprehended and placed under the custody of the Makilala municipal police station.
Angcan said they were armed with a search warrant issued by a local court here when they raided Rebuta’s house in Barangay Biangan, Makilala, around 1 a.m. Thursday.
He claimed they recovered from the area an improvised explosive device (IED), which weighed about 10 kilos, detonating cords and electrical wires, nine-volt battery, three M-16 rifles with 1,500 pieces of ammunition, seven mobile phones, and alleged subversive documents.
“Had we failed to arrest Rebuta, the suspect could have inflicted harm upon our troops and the civilians. The IED that we recovered could have been planted somewhere else purposely to sow terror,” said Angcan in an interview over the Catholic-run DXND.
Rebuta, according to Col. Harold Argamosa of the 39th Infantry Battalion, has been placed in a tight surveillance and monitoring months ago.
The raiding team included elements of the 39IB, members of the Makilala municipal police station, and operatives of the Regional Public Safety Battalion of the Cotabato Police Provincial Office.
Rebuta is the second highest official of the NPA operating in North Cotabato arrested by authorities since June this year.
In June 7, police and soldiers arrested in Barangay San Isidro, Kidapawan City, a certain Rudy Antiola, also known as, “Commander Alon”, believed to be the finance officer of the NPA Front 53.
Antiola was one of the 20 high-risk inmates at the North Cotabato District Jail in Barangay Amas here transferred on Monday at a more secured facility in General Santos City. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)