The long arm of the law finally caught up with Virgilio Paragan, a former leader of the New People’s Army in southern Negros, who was arrested by the police and military Sunday in Brgy. Santo Angel, Dumalag, Capiz.
Paragan, 54, who claims to be Baltazar Saldo, has four pending arrest warrants for murder and attempted murder charges, issued by Kabankalan Regional Trial Court Judge Henry Arles, Guihulngan RTC Judges Mario Trinidad and Rosendo Bandal, Capt. Cenon Pancito, spokesman of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said yesterday.
Pancito said Paragan resisted arrest, and maintained that it was a case of mistaken identity. But, based on accounts of witnesses, Paragan and Saldo is the same person.
The elusive former NPA leader, who is linked to numerous killings, including the ambush of an Army 1Lt. Jason Regner and two other Army soldiers in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental, in 2003, among other crimes, was arrested by operatives of the Regional Intelligence Division of the Police Regional Office 6 and 61st Infantry Battalion troopers.
Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said last night that Paragan who used to be the commanding officer of the Roger Mahinay Command, South West Front of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros, has a bounty of P1,050,000 for his arrest.
P Brig. Gen. Johun Bulalacao, outgoing Western Visayas regional police director, who presented Paragan in a press briefing yesterday at Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City, described the captured former NPA leader as “ dangerous”, as he faces a string of murder and attempted murder cases.
Bulalacao added that Paragan has been hiding for more than 10 years in Capiz where he worked as a driver and personal assistant to a businessman.
While he might have “lain low” in NPA activities, Pancito raised the possibility that Paragan kept in contact with the CPP-NPA.*
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