Elusive Negros rebel leader nabbed at Comelec checkpoint
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines - An elusive and notorious leader of the New Peoples Army (NPA) in southern Negros was arrested at a Commission on Elections (Comelec) checkpoint Friday night, April 5.
Reniel Cellon, known as "Ka Kumpol," was arrested with his wife and 4 other suspected communist rebels for violating the election gun ban. They were intercepted in barangay Dancalan, Ilog town of Negros Occidental.
Ilog police chief Senior Inspector Joshua Villasis said they were carrying the following:
- a .45 caliber pistol with five magazines of ammunition
- a Walter PPK caliber .22 pistol with three magazines of ammunition
- rifle grenade
- a fragmentation grenade
- hundreds of ammunition for M16 assault rifle
Villasis said assorted subversive documents like extortion letters were also recovered inside their vehicle.
Cellon was tagged by the military as the commander of the Sentro de Grabidad platoon of the SouthWest Front Committee of Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros. His wife, Mary Jane Magkilat, is known in the communist movement as "Ka Chin-Chin."
The other 4 suspected rebels were identified as: Jose Sonny Boy Ditomal, Rodrigo Marikasa, Antonio Estaniel and Edfan Gonzales. All 4 denied links with the NPA.
Cellon and his wife also have pending arrest warrants for murder and frustrated murder in connection with the 2011 death of an Army lieutenant in Cauayan town, according to Villasis.
Military records show Cellon led a number of NPA encounters and assassination activities against the 61st and 47th Infantry Battalion. He was tagged as the leader of the group that ambushed 2Lt Jose Angelo Esguerra and the group that raided and destroyed mining firm properties in Sipalay City.
His wife Mary Jane Magkilat is said to be the head of the Education Bureau of the South West Front Committee. She was arrested in March 2012 by the 47th Infantry Battalion in Kabankalan City. But because there was no arrest warrant against her at the time, the Philippine Army was forced to release her.
Military records show Magkilat is also the political officer of the rebel unit that is commanded by her husband.
All 6 were charged on Friday before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Negros Occidental in Bacolod City for violation of the Comelec gun ban and illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Cellon and Magkilat were denied bail because of the pending murder charges against them. They were immediately sent to the Provincial Jail in Bago City.
Villasis said there was a brief chase between police and military personnel and the 6 suspects on board a Suzuki Carry vehicle, which stopped about 30 to 50 meters away from the checkpoint.
When they tried to inspect, Villasis said the vehicle tried to flee towards Candoni. The vehicle was later cornered at Km. 105 in Brgy. Dancalan, Ilog. Its occupants did not put up a fight. - Rappler.com