DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Joint forces of the police and military arrested Porferio D. Tuna, a ranking official of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Southeastern Mindanao Region (SMR), on Wednesday afternoon, October 21.
Tuna, who has arrest warrants for kidnapping and murder, also goes by aliases Ka Simon, Pinot, Ampong, and Ricky. He is allegedly the deputy secretary general and spokesperson of the NPA in southeastern Mindanao.
Davao del Norte Police commander Samuel Gadingan told Rappler that Ka Simon was arrested within the vicinity of the La Filipina Independiente Church in Tagum City at 1pm on Wednesday. He did not resist arrest.
Captain Ryan Batchar, the spokesperson of the military’s 10th Infantry Division, told Rappler: “Wala syang kasama. Wala naman kaming naging problema kasi wala siyang resistance, sumama siya peacefully.”
(He was alone. We didn’t encounter any problem because he didn’t resist, he came with us peacefully).
The arrest of Tuna came months after the death of Lencio Pitao aka Ka Paragu, another ranking NPA leader in Mindanao.
Batchar said Tuna was arrested by virtue of the warrants issued by two local courts. He is facing kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges before Regional Trial Court Branch 3 in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley. He has a murder case with Regional Trial Court Branch 1 in Tagum City.
“Bumigay na siguro kasi na-feel ang pressure. At first ‘yong mga tao sa simbahan nag-deny na nandoon s’ya. Ang tropa kagabi pa nandoon, nag-aabang at postive na nandoon s’ya. Kanina, bumigay na talaga ‘yong nasa simbahan kaya nakuha si Ka Simon,” Gadingan told Rapppler.
(He gave in because there was pressure. At first, those in church denied that he was there. The operatives were staking out since last night, and they were positive he was there. Later, today, the people in church gave in, that’s why Ka Simon was arrested.)
Asked if the operation was in any way connected to the recent killing of Loreto, Agusan del Sur, Mayor Dario Otasa and his son Daryl, Batchar said the arrest of Ka Simon was a separate effort by the joint forces.
Tuna’s arrest “means the NPA organization in SMR will be demoralized, because he is the deputy secretary general.”
Bayan Muna Representative Karlos Isagani Zarate told Rappler: “There is really an urgent need for the resumption of the peace process so that the deeper issues, the root causes of the ongoing rebellion in our country, will be addressed. This must be a priority by whoever wins in the next elections.”
Tuna is detained at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group facility in Tagum City. – Rappler.com
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