BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The leader of a rebel front’s remnants went deeper into hiding as security forces intensify their hunt for him in the mountains of Calatrava town where Arnel Pabillar led a killing spree during the tiempo muerto or the dead season here, murdering three civilians, among them a village chief.
As the soldiers and police press on with their hunt, Camp Gerona reported the surrender of 16 Red fighters, among them a platoon commanding officer, who, an Army officer said, have been pressured into giving up by the focused operations of the Army and the sustained operations of the local formations of the End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
“He will have more varicose veins,” Army Colonel J-jay Javines said in jest as he confirmed that the 79th Battalion that he leads is seriously combing the mountains of Calatrava hunting for Pabillar, codenamed Ka (short for kaupod or comrade) Jong Tapang who led a small group of New People’s Army rebels in killing Benjamin Javoc and two other civilians.
Tapang was described in leaflets airdropped by the Army over Calatrava mountain villages as having a lot of varicose veins in one of his legs, which he conceals with a sleeve.
The Roselyn Jean Pelle Command of the NPA later admitted to killing Javoc on 26 August 2022,andvtwo others – Renato Estrebillo on 11 August, and Rodel Nobleza on 7 August, both in Marcelo village.
The rebels accused all three of various “crimes” including cooperating with Army intelligence to pinpoint rebel locations.
The rebels claimed Javoc had a death sentence meted out by a “revolutionary court” and all three are subjects of “standing orders” for “criminals and counter revolutionary elements.”
As Tapang (brave in Filipino) goes deeper into hiding, Camp Gerona confirmed today that Ka Jimbo, commanding officer of the main platoon of a front in Central Negros, was among those who surrendered to the government in Guihulngan City, Oriental Negros yesterday, 20 September 2022.
Army Brigadier General Innocencio Pasaporte told DNX Jimbo heads the Sentro De Grabidad (center of gravity), the main armed unit among three platoons of the Central Negros 1 Front.
First Lieutenant Roselyn Balean, acting civil military officer of the 62nd Battalion, had earlier told reporters that the 16 rebels included the political and medical officers.
They were presented during a ceremonial declaration and turnover led by Pasaporte in Guihulngan City yesterday, 20 September 2022.