Cebu City

Soldiers, cops catch NPA-Eastern Visayas leader in Cebu

Jazmin Bonifacio

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Soldiers, cops catch NPA-Eastern Visayas leader in Cebu

CAUGHT. Authorities arrest suspected New People's Army-Eastern Visayas rebel leader Romulo Micabalo in Cebu on April 8, 2024.

8th Infantry Division

The military links the suspected rebel leader, Romulo Micabalo, to the 2021 burning of P32 million worth of construction equipment, and attacks that killed a soldier and three militiamen in Samar

SAMAR, Philippines – Authorities pounced on the alleged second highest ranking leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Eastern Visayas and arrested him in Cebu City on Monday, April 8.

The suspect, Romulo Micabalo alias Ned and Lukad, has been linked to the 2021 burning of P32 million worth of construction equipment in Northern Samar, the killing of a soldier and three militiamen, and the wounding of a child during an attack at a school construction site in Eastern Samar in 2022.

Captain Jefferson Mariano, public affairs chief of the Army in Eastern Visayas, said Micabalo served as the second top leader of the NPA’s Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee.

Micabalo was arrested by soldiers from the Army’s 8th Infantry Division and police officers while he was inside an apartment in Pitogo, Consolacion in Cebu.

Before that, he was a member of the Regional Sentro de Gravidad-Compaq under the NPA’s North Central Mindanao Regional Party Committee (NCMRC) based in Region X.

He is the son of Dionisio Micabalo, an alleged leader of the NPA’s North Central Mindanao Regional Party Committee, who was killed in an encounter with the military in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental on July 26, 2023.

Mariano said Micabalo was ordered arrested by a court in Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, for two counts of kidnapping with serious illegal detention and robbery with violence against or intimidation.

Mariano said disgruntled former members of Micabalo’s group provided information about Micabalo’s whereabouts.

Micabalo, according to Mariano, had been elusive, moving from one place to another.

The military accused Micabalo of leading rebels in burning heavy equipment used in a road construction in Barangay Quirino and Barangay San Francisco, Las Navas, Northern Samar on July 29, 2021.

Micabalo was also linked to the ambush that saw a soldier and three militiamen killed and six others wounded in Barangay 4, Jipapad, Eastern Samar that same year.

Authorities also held him responsible for the attack on a security team at a school building construction site in Barangay Dorillo, Jipapad, Eastern Samar on October 7, 2022. 

Las Navas Mayor Arlito Tan welcomed Micabalo’s arrest, saying he was optimistic that it would further weaken the NPA group in his province.

Tan said Micabalo’s group has already caused so much trouble in his town. –

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