Mindanao NPA commander killed in Cebu City hideout

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 12 October) — A ranking leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed Sunday by Army and police operatives in Cebu City, where he was hiding and coordinating attacks in Mindanao including the 2015 murder of Mayor Dario Otaza and his son Daryl of Loreto, Agusan del Sur, and the 2017 attack of the Lapanday plant in Davao City.

Major Eduardo Precioso, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Central Command, said Denis Paradero Rodinas was killed after a gunfight with 30 Army and police operatives in his newly constructed house in Barangay Pong-ol Sibugay, Cebu City on Sunday night.

Rodinas was the commander of the Merardo Arce Command of the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC), Precioso said.

Precioso said the police team arrested Rodinas’ companion identified as Gerlie Mercado, alias Tamsi and Sol, also an alleged top NPA commander under the SMRC.

News reports said that two other companions of Rodinas, identified as Ryan and Rodelyn Moralde, both 29 years old, were also arrested.

Precioso said the joint Army-police team was serving the five arrest warrants issued by Branch 3 and Branch 56 of the Regional Trial Courts in Compostella, Davao de Oro for murder, terroristic acts and other alleged heinous crimes against Rodinas but he resisted.

The arresting team seized a silver-gray KIA RIO Sedan with plate number ABN 2146, a .45 caliber pistol and several phones and laptops from the suspects.

The killing of Rodinas came a week after suspected NPA rebels killed Jumar Bucales, alleged leader of the paramilitary group Mangahat-Bagani in Surigao del Sur last October 4.

The military earlier released information of Rodinas alleged involvement in various killings, including Mayor Dario Otaza and his son Daryl who was kidnapped and later murdered in Butuan City on October 20, 2015.

Precioso said Rodinas also allegedly led the 2017 simultaneous attacks on the plants of Lapanday Farm and Macondray, which are both owned by the Lorenzo family, in Davao City. The damage that resulted from these attacks amounted to at least P2 billion.