Tip from locals leads to arrest of NPA gunsmith in Iloilo

Tip from locals leads to arrest of NPA gunsmith in Iloilo

NPA GUNSMITH. P/BGen. Rene P. Pamuspusan, director of Police Regional Office-6, presents to the media on Friday (Oct. 9, 2020) an arrested suspect who is said to be serving as a gunsmith for the New People’s Army. His arrest is considered a big blow to the communist terrorist group. (PNA photo by RPIO)

ILOILO CITY – Information from the community has led to the arrest of a suspect who served as gunsmith for the New People’s Army (NPA).

On Friday, P/BGen Rene P. Pamuspusan, director of Police Regional Office 6 (PRO6), presented to the media 53-year-old Joemarie G. Arro of Barangay Aguiauan, Miag-ao, Iloilo, who was arrested on Thursday, Oct. 8, by operatives of the Regional Intelligence Unit and Miag-ao Municipal Police Station by virtue of a search warrant.

“He is being used by the CPP NPA to prepare their armaments. So he is really supporting the group as per our report,” Pamuspusan said in a press conference.

He said that since last year, they have been working on information linking Arro to the communist terrorist group. It was confirmed last month based on the tactical interrogation that was conducted on some surrenderers and returnees from the rebel group, he added.

Acting on a search warrant issued by Executive Judge Nelita Jesusa A. Bacaling of the Regional Trial Court Branch 72 in Guimbal, Iloilo, the police units seized from the suspect’s possession a 12-gauge shotgun; five 12-gauge shotgun barrels; one semi-pistol of unknown caliber; an improvised .38-caliber pistol with magazine; five pieces of air guns; seven pieces .38-caliber revolvers; 12 assorted magazines; 187 assorted ammunition; and assorted gunsmith tools.

The suspect’s arrest is also in line with the efforts of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in ending local communist armed conflict.

Pamuspusan said that based on information, Arro has vast connections with the group of Joven Ceralvo alias “Lex”, commanding officer of the Suyak Platoon, Southern Front, KR-Panay, that is operating in the hinterland areas of southern Panay.

“The subject acts as the gunsmith for the CPP-NPA and most of the firearms recovered in his possession during the service of the search warrant are believed to be of Ceralvo’s group,” he added.

Pamuspusan said they have yet to determine if the suspect is a member of the terrorist group or is just a supporter.

“This is a critical accomplishment by our intelligence community. It’s really very hard to establish another type of service from him or like him,” he added.

Pamuspusan said Arro could also be doing business with other buyers aside from the communist terrorist group.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Joel Benedict Batara, commanding officer of the 61st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, said the arrest of Arro will have a positive impact on the government’s campaign to end insurgency.

“This is a good break for security forces because we are now strengthening our intelligence forces so sources of their firearms are traced. We have a better picture of them right now,” he said. (PNA)

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