A suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebel who admitted to be among those who clashed with Philippine Army (PA) troops on Friday was arrested by police a day after the brief encounter.
Crisologo Guimaras, 20, of Dauis who was initially accosted by authorities for not wearing a facemask and illegal wearing of a Philippine Army shirt was arrested after police found an improvised explosive device or IED and rifle grenade in his possession at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, said Lt. German Soronio, chief of the Sevilla Police Station.
According to Soronio, Guimaras was seen walking alone some 500 meters away from the clash site in Barangay Bayawahan.
“Pag conduct namo og roadblock nangadlaw’n g’yud mi, 24 hours, ang akong mga intelligence operatives nakadawat sila og info sa ilang confidential agent na naay taw na naglakaw outside sa restricted zone padung gawas gikan siya sa sud sa encounter area, wa sila nakaila,” said Soronio.
“Wa siyay facemask unya Army sul-ob niya na t-shirt so nahibong mi kay bawal mana sa civilian magsul-ob so nahimo ng suspicious ni unya wa man siya’y da na firearm kung Army siya, niya padung man siya sa gawas gikan sa restricted area,” he added.
Police asked Guimaras what was inside his bag and he showed them that it was bread. However, the operatives saw a box with wires protruding from beneath the bread and later found a rifle grenade upon thoroughly checking the contents of the bag.
Guimaras was then taken into police custody and brought to the Sevilla Police Station where he later admitted that he was one of the around 20 armed men who clashed with state forces in Bayawahan on Friday afternoon.
“Ni angkon siya na membro siya sa NPA,” the police official said, adding that the rebels scattered and fled towards separate directions following the clash.
During interrogation, Soronio found out that Guimaras is from Dauis prompting him to check with police in the town to verify his records. This led him to discover that the alleged rebel has a standing arrest warrant for rape.
Guimaras was also charged on Monday for illegal possession of explosives, unauthorized wearing of military uniform, and breaking quarantine protocol.
The clash in Sevilla which resulted in zero casualties was the fourth encounter between state troopers and suspected NPA rebels this year.
There had been no major clashes between government troops and the NPA in the province in the past decade but encounters have again started to erupt in the past few months with one firefight in Cambigsi, Bilar on February 29 that left one soldier and one rebel dead.
The clash in Bilar was the first time in recent years that an armed encounter between government troops and suspected rebels in the province resulted in casualties. (A. Doydora)