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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, March 25, 2019
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Ka Frank, wife caught
BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

 

Two top communist rebel leaders in Negros have been arrested.

Frank Fernandez, secretary of Komiteng Rehiyonal (KR)-Negros, and his deputy and wife, Cleofe Lagtapon, were arrested Saturday by police and military intelligence operatives in Purok 2, Brgy. Calumpang, Nagcarlan, Laguna.

The arrests were confirmed yesterday by two ranking state security officials, who requested anonymity, pending the formal announcement of their captivity today by the top brass of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and National Police.

Fernandez, who is also known by his aliases Ibarra, Kanor, Suilo and Ago, is wanted for four counts of murder and attempted murder.

Lagtapon reportedly headed the KR-Negros Finance Commission.

The military has earmarked an P8 million reward for the capture of Fernandez, whose last appearance to the local media in Negros, was in December 2016, while the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army were observing a unilateral truce.

The ailing Fernandez, who is now in his 70s, was among the seven Negros priests who joined the communist movement during the Martial Law years.

In the middle of 1990s, the rebel priest accepted former Army general Raymundo Jarque, who defected to the revolutionary movement.

Fernandez, who eluded captivity for more than four decades, was trailed by government agents from Negros to Laguna, where he and his wife were arrested on Saturday, a DAILY STAR source disclosed last night.

According to the military, Fernandez supervises the operations of at least four guerrilla fronts of the New People’s Army in Negros Island, that has more than 300 fighters.

Fernandez and Lagtapon are scheduled to be presented to the Department of Justice in Manila by their arresting police and military men today, the DAILY STAR source added.*

 

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