MANILA, Philippines – Combined Army and police troops arrested a long-wanted communist party member based in Panay Island in Iloilo province on Friday.
Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr., commander of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said 58-year-old Mateo Suares alias Ka Badong, was cornered at about 9 a.m. by Army and police elements in Barangay Carmelo, Banate town.
Suares, the alleged finance officer of the New People’s Army in Panay, has pending warrants of arrest for a string of criminal cases.
Mabanta said that as finance officer, Suares is actively engage in extortion activities in Panay Island.
His arrest came at the time when Army troops in Panay are scheduled to launch a “football” caravan next week in the whole of Western Visayas aimed at discovering and developing a future formidable football team of the country.
“He is the leader of extortion who controls and plans the financial needs of the NPAs in Panay. I am sure the business community in Iloilo province and various gorups of peace advocates [are relieved] with his arrest,” Col. Arnold Quiapo, commander of the 301st Brigade.
The fall of Suares in Iloilo came after the arrest last June by combined Army and police troops of Robert Espinosa alias Ka Bert, the NPAs’ finance officer in Negros Island in Victorias City.
Aside from being the NPA’s finance officer in Negros, Espinosa is also the technical and intelligence officer of the NPA’s Northern Negros Front.