Manila: A ranking official of the Philippine communist movement was arrested by authorities on Monday, police said on Tuesday.
Jaime Dimaculangan Padilla, who served as spokesman for the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) in the Southern Tagalog Region and is a member of the central committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), was arrested by agents of the Criminal Investigation Group and the Eastern Police District at 7.30pm on November 25. He was undergoing medical treatment at the Cardinal Santos Medical Centre in suburban San Juan when he was arrested.
Brigadier Debold Sinas, national police spokesman, said concerned citizens informed authorities about the presence of the 60-year-old Padilla in the hospital and a raid was conducted by police the room where the insurgent leader was billeted.
“He [Padilla] is suffering from hypertension complicated with other illnesses,” Sinas said.
Aside from Padilla, also collared were three other suspects who served as aide to the insurgent leader. Rey Rafa, 30; Jefren Banjawan, 26; and Kay Ann Trogon, 27, all residents of Laguna province, did not resist arrest when collared by authorities.
Padilla, also known by his nom de guerre “Delio” was frequently shown in communist propaganda videos on YouTube wearing a light-brown coloured uniform and a Mao cap.
According to Sinas, Padilla has several warrants of arrest for murder, multiple attempted murder and kidnapping among others, in the areas the province of Mindoro where his rebel band operates.
He was also said to be responsible for the massive recruitment of minors and students as NPA combatants, some of whom became battle casualties in encounters with government troops in the province of Laguna and Batangas.
Early in his presidency, President Rodrigo Duterte had offered a negotiated end to the more than 50-year-old Philippine communist movement, however frequent insurgent attacks on government soldiers and civilian entities, such as mining firms, prompted the leader to call off the negotiations.
The President even gave positions in his Cabinet to left-wing leaders, but he later on sacked all of them for certain reasons.
“The responsive and successive government operations is a manifestation of the initiatives of the present administration to end local communist armed conflict in the country, as mandated by the Executive Order 70 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte,” Sinas said.
Executive Order 70 mandates a “whole of the nation” approach towards ending the insurgency and achieving an “inclusive” and sustainable “peace.”
The more than half century insurgency conflict has cost the lives of more than a hundred thousand combatants from both sides as well as civilians. It also led to the stagnating economic growth in parts of the country.