An alleged squad leader of the New People’s Army assigned in northern Negros, identified as Roberto Espinosa, with aliases of Ka Berto, Bert and Demar, was recaptured yesterday by police intelligence operatives in Brgy. 6-A, Victorias City, Negros Occidental.
Espinosa was nabbed by virtue of arrest warrants for robbery with homicide, robbery-in-band and two counts of arson charges, Supt. Alexander Munoz, Victorias police chief, said.
In 2009, Espinosa and Rogelio Danoso, commander of the Kilusang Larangan Northern Negros of the NPA, were also arrested by a combined team of military and police intelligence operatives in Brgy. Bata, Bacolod City, for illegal possession of firearms.
However, Espinosa and Danoso, were later released from jail, after posting bail of P120,000 for illegal possession of firearms. They were also reported to have immediately rejoined their comrades in the mountains.
Munoz said Espinosa, who has been under surveillance for several years, was leaving his home at Villa Miranda in Victorias City, when he was spotted and arrested by the police.
Espinosa was denied bail for robbery-in-band and arson charges. His arrest warrants were issued by San Carlos Regional Trial Court Judge Kathrine Go, Silay RTC Judge Felipe Banzon and Victorias Municipal Trial Court in Cities Judge Evelyn Arsenio.
Munoz said Espinosa was among the rebels who raided and destroyed a water pump facility of the Victorias Milling Company in 2010.
Espinosa is now detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facilities in Victorias City.
The arrest of Espinosa was made while the 303rd Infantry Brigade is also negotiating for the surrender of five to seven more rebels.
Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd IB commander, said they will soon present the new batch of rebel returnees to Governor Alfredo Maranon Jr. so they can avail of livelihood and financial assistance from the provincial government, to help them start a new life with their families. * GPB