DAVAO CITY – The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group detained Jordan Reyes Donillo, to whom the military claimed as a New People’s Army commander, who was nabbed Sunday afternoon in a checkpoint at Brgy. Magnaga, Pantukan, Compostela Valley.
With Donillo’s arrest, Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, AFP Commander, Eastern Mindanao Command was quick to say that “(W)e already penetrated their guerilla bases; they said that their influence is getting stronger, however, they will have a hard time getting consolidation because we are always after them.”
A recent NPA statement prior to the arrest, however, belies the claims made by the military that NPA strength is dwindling.
The NPAs in North Central Mindanao has launched 28 military actions with around 40 casualties on the part of the AFP, Philippine National
Police (PNP) and Citizen Armed Geographical Unit (CAFGU), said Allan Juanito, spokesperson of the NPA command in North Central Mindanao region (NCMR).
In Southern Mindanao, NPAs who raided a Japanese banana plant in New Corrella, Davao del Norte captured two soldiers belonging to the 60th IB last December 2.
Two soldiers belonging to the 8th IB, also remain as prisoners of war of the NPA.
According to Omar Ibarra, spokesperson of the NPA – WANAS Subregional command in NCMR, 10 casualties, including one military officer and two soldiers, were killed during NPA attacks in La Paz and Talacogon, Agusan del Sur last December 13 and 14.
It was a second capture for Donillo or alias Noli or Estong, who was said to be arrested but rescued by NPA comrades in 2002 while he was enroute to a trial court for the arraignment of his cases.
In a statement, 1Lieutenant Vergel Lacambra, chief of the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division Public Affairs said that Donillo, who has a 2.5 million cash reward on his head, was the commander of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 18.
The arrest of Donillo came days before the Communist Party of the Philippines celebrates its 46th founding anniversary on December 26.
President Benigno Aquino III has recently approved the suspension of military and police operations (SOMO-SOPO) from midnight of December 18 to January 19, 2015.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles in a statement said that “The SOMO-SOPO is in line with government’s Christmas tradition, as we have always wished to provide for our people’s peaceful and joyful celebration of this holy season and a hope-filled welcome to a new year.”
The unilateral ceasefire also considered the visit of Pope Francis in the country next year.(With reports from Sarah Grace Andaya, Davao Today Intern)