Two hitmen of the New People’s Army and a recruiter of the terrorist group reportedly behind the assassination of at least seven people, including a Swiss national in North Cotabato and military men, were arrested by combined police and military personnel in the province on Thursday.
1st Lt. Silver Belvis, Civil Military Operation officer of the Philippine Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion, identified the arrested hitmen as Harold Adiation, also known as “Dodong,” and Ian Solis alias “Iyan,” both active members of the NPA Special Partisan Unit, and Dandan Mailan Andas alias “Dodong,” a recruiter of the rebel group.
Belvis said Adiaton was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest for frustrated murder, while Solis was nabbed for violation of illegal firearms and ammunition. Both are members of the NPA SPARU of Guerrilla Front 53, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee.
Andas was subdued for charges of frustrated murder and robbery, the Army spokesman added. Military records showed he is a known recruiter of the communist movement and a member of a “kangaroo court” of the underground mass base of the NPA, based on the accounts of their former comrades who recently surrendered to the authorities.
Belvis said a woman, who requested anonymity, said that it was her long desire for the rebels to be apprehended, while urging family members previously victimized by the NPAs to not be afraid and surface to testify against them.
“Justice was achieved,” said Belvis, quoting the parent.
The arrest of the hitmen and recruiter, Belvis said, could shed light on several killings perpetrated by the NPA in North Cotabato in recent years.
The two SPARU hitmen reportedly had a hand in the killing of a certain Mr. Weneger, a Swiss-Filipino businessman residing in Makilala town, who was killed in Kidapawan City in 2012.
Adiaton and Solis were also tagged in the killings of Bantito Abanilla, who was gunned down inside the compound of a Catholic church in Arakan town last Feb. 7, 2016, and a certain Sgt. Florentino from the 57th Infantry Battalion, who was shot dead while on vacation in Tagbak, Magpet town last Feb. 22, 2017.
Lt Col. Harold Argamosa, commander of the 39th IB, said other victims of mysterious assassinations includes Valerio Birondo, a councilor of Barangay Mahoncog, Magpet, last Oct. 3; and Bebs Quino, a farmer of Barangay Balite, last Oct. 10.Argamosa also blamed the NPA hitmen for the killings of Mark Cervania, a vendor of rugs in Barangay Basak, Magpet last Oct. 13; and the killing of a certain Army Technical Sgt. Galupon, a retiree of the Presidential Security Group, just last Jan. 6.
Authorities will continue to hunt terrorist elements who continue to sow terror and criminal activities, Argamosa said, as he predicted their eventual defeat.
“No one will get away from the long arms of the law. Sooner or later they [NPAs] will be apprehended. Justice was finally served to the three communist terrorist members,” he added.