Police say alleged rebel killed in Cebu is a high-ranking NPA official in Southern Mindanao

By: Rosalie Abatayo - CDN Digital | October 12,2020 - 04:23 PM

CEBU CITY — Years of running against the law ended on Sunday evening (October 11, 2020) for alleged New People’s Army (NPA) commander Denis Paradero Rodinas.

Rodinas was killed in a joint operation of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines at past 10 p.m. on Sunday while authorities were serving warrants of arrest against him at the house that he and his live-in partner were building in Barangay Pung-ol Sibubay, a mountain barangay in Cebu City.

Read’: NPA commander’ killed during escape attempt – police

Brigadier General Albert Ignatius Ferro, Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) director, said in a press conference on Monday morning, October 12, that Rodinas and his live-in partner Gerlie Mercado were top ranking officials of the Southern Mindanao Regional Command of the NPA.

Serving of warrant

The operation against Rodinas was pursuant to five warrants of arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Davao de Oro for several counts of murder, terroristic acts, and other heinous crimes. 

Among the crimes imputed to Rodinas is the abduction and killing of Mayor Dario Otaza of Loreto, Agusan del Sur and his son Daryl in Butuan City in 2015.

Mayor Otaza belonged to the Manobo Tribe and was a former member of the NPA but surrendered to the government in 1985. He was able to convince 246 rebels to surrender to the government. 

Aside from the killing of the former mayor, Rodinas is also imputed as the person behind the murder of a certain Arnold Sacarws in Zamboanga del Sur and Ernesto Gumilid in Misamis Occidental in 2009; the arson of heavy equipment of a mining company in Agusan del Sur, raid of a military patrol base in Davao de Oro in 2011; abduction of a jail warden in Davao de Oro and raiding of a mining compound 2015; disarming of barangay security forces in Arakan, North Cotabato, and the simultaneous attack to industrial plants in Davao City and ambush of presidential security group (PSG) members in Davao City; and burning of heavy equipment units in Davao City in 2018.

Cebu City Hide Out

Ferro said they learned of Rodinas’ presence in Cebu City following the tips of residents. 

He said the residents became suspicious as Rodinas was building a two-story rest house on a lot tagged as a forest reserve or protected area.

While the authorities serving the warrants were approaching the house, Ferro said Rodinas pulled out his gun and fired at the operating units, which prompted authorities to fire back resulting to his death.

The police also arrested Mercado, who is currently pregnant. She has a pending warrant of arrest for murder. 

Colonel Jerry Borja, Commander of the Task Force Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor (TF-CBS) of the Philippine Army, said Mercado made an extra-judicial confession that they were members of the NPA.

Aside from the two top officers of the rebel group, the police also arrested two others for obstruction of justice after they allegedly prevented the police from serving the warrant to Mercado who was inside the house.

Insurgency Free

Despite the discovery of the top rebel officers in Cebu, the PNP and Philippine Army officials here have maintained that Cebu is still insurgency free.

Ferro said the Cebuanos had been cooperative in preventing the armed groups from settling down here in Cebu and the Central Visayas.

“We thank the villagers who tipped-off the location of Rodinas. We were able to plan out and implement all measures that will ensure the swift arrest as well as the safety of the people nearby during the operation. However, he died after being hostile to the arresting officers. The same with the recent arrest of Junifie Dagale in Bohol, top NPA who is wanted for crimes in Mindanao, Central Visayas is not a safe place for these terrorists to hide,” Borja said.

The authorities, however, said they were still investigating the extent of the activities of Rodinas and Mercado in Cebu. 

Borja said the two had stayed here only for months, but they had yet to ascertain when and how they arrived in Cebu. 

/bmjo

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TAGS: Cebu‬, crime, insurgency, killed, official, rebel

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