Civilians who provided information that led to the arrest of Negros top communist leaders Frank Fernandez and his deputy, Cleofe Lagtapon, in Laguna on March 24, may soon be richer by more than P11 million.
Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said yesterday that only civilian informants may get the reward, as military personnel involved in the arrest of Fernandez and his two companions in Laguna on Sunday, are not entitled to it.
There is a reward of more than P8 million for the capture of Fernandez, who is the secretary of Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor, and P3.2 million for his wife and deputy, Lagtapon, as reported by the police, Arevalo added.
“Personally, I do not really care about the reward, because for me, I was just very happy that finally he (Fernandez) was captured,” he said, stressing that the reward which is to be determined soon, will go to the informant, who was able to cause the arrest of the wanted person.
But Arevalo commended the government troops for “a job well done. We don’t really need the monetary compensation,” he stressed, and only for his troops to be proud of what they had done.
He added that the arrest of Fernandez is historical for Negros and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for catching one of the last true living icons of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
Arevalo also acknowledged the help of Moises Padilla Mayor Magdaleno Peña, who provided vital information that led to the arrest of Fernandez, who had eluded captivity for more than three decades.
Peña, who presented a video of a conversation with the captured former Negros priest to the media during a press conference yesterday, requested Fernandez to help stop the killings in Negros.
Arevalo added that the arrest of Fernandez may also be an opportunity to prolong his life, considering his health condition, as he can no longer be running and is stressed from fleeing from government troopers
“We want to assure his family that he is being very well taken care of,” adding that Fernandez and Lagtapon were brought to the Asian Hospital in Alabang for a check up, as his blood pressure had risen.
Aside from murder and attempted murder charges being faced by Fernandez, police also filed on Monday charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives against him, Lagtapon, and Gee-Ann Perez.
Arevalo confirmed that Fernandez and Lagtapon are under hospital arrest, for humanitarian reasons, in an undisclosed place in Luzon although he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians, soldiers, policemen assigned in Negros, for several decades, being the leader of the CPP-NPA in Negros.
But he said he cannot stop families of the victims of Fernandez if they will press charges against him.
Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday said that he expects peace in Negros, following the arrest of Fernandez.
“It’s about time that we stop these killings”, he added.
Arevalo said that there are still about 300 armed NPA members and their “militias” operating in Negros Island.
“If they are sincere, they should help the government to make progress possible,” Marañon said, noting that the CPP-NPA and the government are one in their desire to improve the lives of the poor.*
back to top