MANILA, Philippines—Two communist rebels were arrested by government troops in Sorsogon Tuesday, the military said.
The clash occurred in the hinterland village of Abad Santos in Bulan town at about 9 a.m., said Lieutenant Colonel Teody Toribio, commanding officer of the Army’s 31st Infantry Battalion, in a statement.
A team of soldiers and police responded to complaints of extortion activities in the said village.
“Through the help of a civilian tipster, the troops have directly pinpointed and collared the two armed extortionists who were caught red-handed with their firearms. They raised their hands upon realizing that they were completely surrounded,” he said.
The two rebels were identified as Alex Gerandino, 24, known as Monique, and Florence Galos, known as Audrey.
The soldiers also confiscated a cal 5.56mm M16A1 Rifle and a 9mm semi-automatic pistol.
Both suspects came from the village of Macawayan of Irosin town in Sorsogon and were turned over to Bulan Municipal Police Station for inquest proceedings.
During the investigation, police were able to find out about the existence of an encampment in nearby San Juan Daan village of the same town, prompting Toribio to send troops to verify the information.
While nearing the encapment, another clash erupted when the soldiers and policemen were met with gunfire from at least 15 rebels, triggering a gun battle which lasted for about 20 minutes.
“I believe that a number of them got wounded or killed as indicated by the blood traces in the encounter site. The rebels left behind another a cal. 5.56mm, M16 rifle and a cal .45 M1911A1 pistol, along with several improvised bombs and bomb accessories,” said Toribio.
No one was hurt among the government forces had pursued the rebels, assisted by the civilians who were providing tips through text messages.
Meanwhile, the detained suspects are facing criminal charges, including illegal possession of firearms and explosives and extortion.