Former PUP students nabbed for alleged NPA ties

MANILA, Philippines – Three suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were arrested by government security forces in Tanay, Rizal Wednesday night.

The suspects were identified by authorities as Marissa Espidido, 21; Jared Valero Morales, 21; and Hermogenes Reyes, 22.

All are former students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP).

Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato, commander of the Army’s 16th Infantry Battalion, said that based on witnesses’ accounts, the 3 were arrested near a patrol base of the Army at Sta. Ynez village at around 8:45 p.m.

“They go near populated centers to evade our operations and recruit, extort or harass troops if there is an opportunity…It appears that they are not familiar with the place, hence they got near a patrol base. They were waiting for a companion when they were intercepted by our troops and the police.” Detoyato said.

Recovered from the 3 were an M16 armalite rifle, an M203 grenade launcher attached to another M16 rifle, a shotgun with 12 live ammunition, 12 M16 magazines with live ammunition, 12 40mm live ammunition, 2 grenades and an improvised explosive device.

The suspects will be turned over to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

“They did not resist or put up a fight because of overwhelming number of troops,” said Detoyato.

Detoyato said the female suspect Espidido had been the subject of a writ of amparo filed by her parents before a court in 2007. Leftist groups Kabataan and Bayan Muna were the respondents in the complaint for the disappearance of Espidido.

However, the complaint was dropped when Espidido surfaced.

“Her parents filed the writ (of amparro) and took her back but she returned to the NPA,” said Detoyato.

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