Philippine security forces arrest another communist rebel leader
February 03 2018 10:46 AM
Philippine security forces in the country's southern region
Philippine security forces in the country's southern region


Philippine security forces have arrested a suspected finance officer for communist rebels in the country's southern region amid a crackdown on the guerrillas, a military spokesman said Saturday.

The suspect, Leonida Guao, was apprehended from her house in Butuan City, 800 kilometres south of Manila, on Friday, said Major Ezra Balagtey, a regional military spokesman.

Guao is the finance officer of the New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the rebel Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and ‘handles the group's extortion (activities)’ in the southern region of Mindanao, Balagtey said.

The arresting officers had an arrest warrant against Guao for murder, but no details were available on the specific crime.

Guao's arrest came days after Rafael Baylosis, acting secretary of the NPA, was caught in the Manila suburban city of Quezon on January 31.

Baylosis was among dozens of communist rebels whose temporary release was sought by the Duterte administration in 2016 as it worked to resume stalled peace talks with the guerrillas.

While the government and rebel panels met several times in the Netherlands, Duterte signed a proclamation on November 23, 2017, terminating the peace talks amid escalating attacks by the rebels.

Two weeks later, in December, he formally designated the communist rebels terrorists and warned guerrillas who had been released on bail that they would be re-arrested.

Last month, a Philippine court ordered the re-arrest of the chairman and the secretary general of the CPP, who were also released on bail in 2016.

Communist rebels have been fighting the Philippine government since the late 1960s, making the movement one of the longest-running leftist insurgencies in Asia.

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