Camp Olivas, Pampanga—Police authorities said they have captured a suspected leader of the New People’s Army, believed responsible over the death of four Army troopers in Nueva Vizcaya in September 2017, following a raid in his residence at Barangay Kamias, San Miguel, Bulacan last weekend.
Another NPA rebel was killed during the exchange of gunfire between communist guerillas and members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group at Bgy. Moriones, San Jose, Tarlac Friday.
Police identified the slain rebel as Fernando Lumanlan Poblacio Jr., with standing warrant of arrest for murder and two counts of frustrated murder.
Brig. Gen. Valeriano De Leon, Central Luzon PNP chief, identified the arrested NPA leader as Jose Esperila Bernardino, 58, Secretary of the Regional White Area Committee and Central Luzon Regional Committee of the NPA.
De Leon said Bernardino, who would be charged shortly, did not resist when confronted by policemen and military troopers Friday. He said the capture was part of the government campaign to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) in the countryside.
The Central Luzon top cop said Bernardino’s capture was covered by a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Paul Attolba Jr., of the Nueva Vizcaya Regional Trial Court on July 18, 2018 for multiple murder offense.
Police said Bernardino was included in the list of Wanted Persons released by the Department of National Defense and Department of Interior and Local Government.
Bernardino however denied the accusation of the police, saying he had no official link to the underground armed movement. “I’m an ordinary organizer of labor and transport groups being a leader of the Workers Alliance in region 3.”
The alleged NPA leader was presented to the media during a hastily called press conference at the main headquarters building in this regional police headquarters.
De Leon said the raiding team seized a caliber .45 pistol, a fragmentation grenade and three units cellular phones, and subversive documents at the residence of Bernardino.
Bernardino admitted to investigators his involvement in legal fronts with ties to the underground movement.
De Leon said Bernardino was captured based on information relayed to the police by his former comrades who have returned to the folds of the law and availed themselves of the livelihood program and financial assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration program or E-CLIP.