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NPA leader in Central Luzon falls

Kristina Maralit

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Joint law enforcement operations by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) resulted in the arrest of the most wanted New People’s Army (NPA) leader in Central Luzon, authorities reported Saturday.
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Director, Major Gen. Joel Coronel, identified the cornered NPA commander as Jose Esperila Bernardino.
He was captured by police and military operatives last Friday morning in Barangay Sapang Maisac, Mexico, Pampanga by virtue of arrest warrants issued by Hon. Paul Attolba Jr., presiding judge of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 30 of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya.
Bernardino was serving as Regional White Area Committee Secretary of Central Luzon Regional Committee at the time of his arrest.
“He will be presented to the Court for the procedural return of warrant upon completion of documentation and booking procedures,” noted Coronel.
Seized from Bernardino’s possession were one caliber .45 pistol, one hand grenade, an NPA flag, subversive documents with high intelligence value, and other personal effects.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Burgos Jr., chief of the military’s Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM), vowed there will be no let-up in the government forces’ fight against communist terrorists and “pushing them on the brink of irreversible collapse”.
He likewise bared that the informant whose tip led to Bernardino’s arrest will be receiving the P4.7 million reward money after completing the established validation protocols.

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