DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 18, 2009) – The Philippine Army on Thursday paraded a senior communist rebel leader captured by soldiers in Mindanao.
Lieutenant Kurt Decapia, of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said rebel leader Felix Capalla was captured on Sunday at a checkpoint in the village of Pulatana in Sarangani’s Malungon town. But his arrest was only announced by the military on Thursday in Davao City.
Capalla is vice commander for regional operations of the New People’s Army, armed wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines to which he is a politburo member.
Decapia said the rebel leader was in a commuter bus bound for Davao City when he was arrested at the checkpoint.
He said Capalla was behind the series of attacks against military and civilian targets in Mindanao.
Major General Reynaldo Mapagu, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, said the capture of Capalla was a big blow to the CPP and the NPA. “This is another big blow to the CPP leadership. We will continually exert more efforts to arrest more of them and make these criminals responsible before the law for the crimes they have committed,” he said.
Mapagu urged rebels to surrender and return to the folds of the law. “We appreciate it more if the NPAs will voluntarily surrender and return to the mainstream society. We will assure our brothers, who are still in the mountains, that we will assist them to avail of the Social Integration Program of the government,” Mapagu said.
The NPA is fighting for the establishment of a Maoist state in the Philippines and peace talks with Manila had collapsed in 2004. The rebels accused the Arroyo government of reneging on a deal that would free political prisoners and stop extrajudicial killings of activists in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)