LA TRINIDAD, Benguet—Three suspected members of the New People’s Army Chadli Molintas command were charged for arson, robbery and illegal possession of ammunitions before the provincial prosecutors’ office here.
The suspected NPA rebels were allegedly part of the team that burned two brand-new trucks of the Philex Mining Corp. at Tapac, Ampucao, Itogon last Thursday.
Authorities identified the suspected rebels as Sarah Abellon, Promencio Cortez and Marciano Sagun. Police operatives caught them at a checkpoint after pursuing the rebels, who burned the Philex trucks in Gilbraltar, Baguio City, where their transient house was reportedly located.
Police and military intelligence reports show that Abellon is said to be the secretary of the Sub-Regional Military Area Command who they said oversees the NPA’s extortion activities on big projects. Cortez, meanwhile, carries a P4.8-million reward for his arrest.
Prior to the burning incident, the rebels were planning to raid the mining firm and cart away all firearms of the security guards of the company at their various locations, police said.
However, realizing their plans could no longer materialize, the suspected rebels were contended with just burning the two Volvo trucks rather than gaining nothing from their failed operation, they added.
Scene of the Crime Operatives of the Baguio City Police Office searched the transient house rented by the three suspects and recovered personal belongings, gadgets, assorted ammunition and P850,000 in cash believed to be Abellon’s “revolutionary tax” collection.
Combined police and military forces also pursued insurgents who sought safety in various parts of Tuba and Itogon towns after burning the Philex trucks loaded with ore concentrate and bound for San Fernando City, La Union.
Concerned residents claimed there was a series of gunfights between the rebels and the police and military in Cap 4, Tuba last Thursday afternoon. This extended to Friday morning despite the military denying their encounters with the rebels in the area.
Philex officials said the company never received extortion letters from the NPA command operating in the province before the arson incident “that would justify their acts of burning their trucks.”