Part of the mass purging in the 1980s
TACLOBAN CITY- An alleged ranking member of the communist group was arrested by government forces in Inopacan town, Leyte province on Tuesday (July 14) afternoon.
Arrested was Felomino Salazar, Jr., 69, at his house in Barangay Tinago of the said town at about 3 pm.
Salazar, who also carried aliases of ‘Jun and Leo,’ was said to be a member of the executive committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) Southern Leyte Front, was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Regional Trial Court-Branch 32 of the National Capital Judicial region based in Manila.
The alleged rebel leader has 15 outstanding warrants for murder in connection to the mass killings in Inopacan and nearby areas in Leyte carried out by the leadership of the CPP-NPA back in the early 1980s, Major Ryann Velez, civil-military officer of the 802nd Infantry Brigade based in Ormoc City, Leyte, said during a mobile phone interview.
He said that information received by them from the residents of the village led to the arrest of Salazar.
“When we received the information, we verified it and upon confirming, we right away conducted our operation which resulted to his arrest,” he said.
The military official said that Salazar has been living in Tinago since 2015 where his nephew is said to be a village councilor.
“He is in the village as if he was a free man,” Velez said.
Velez said that Salazar was part of the group of the CPP-NPA responsible in the implementation of the so-called ‘Operation Anti-Venereal Disease’ of the communist group back in the early 1980s.
This group was said to be behind on the murder of hundreds of civilians and their members suspected by the communist group to have provided information to the government.
A mass grave was discovered last August 31,2006 in Mt. Sapang Daku in Brgy. Caulisihan, also in Inopacan town, where the victims of the mass purging were said to have been buried.
About 67 human skulls and over hundreds of bones were discovered at the mass grave.
Velez said that the rebel is now under the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Ormoc City for documentation and booking procedure before he would be presented to the Regional Trial Court-Branch 32 of the National Capital Judicial region based in Manila.
“This is not our victory but victory of the people who were victimized by their group,” he said.
(ROEL T. AMAZONA/JOEY A. GABIETA)