BACOLOD CITY – Government troops recovered copies of extortion letters and receipts being used by the New People’s Army (NPA) in their operations to force individuals and business owners in Negros Island to give them money.
The documents, which belong to the NPA’s Apolinario Gatmaitan Command, were recovered during the clearing operation conducted by Army and police troopers after a clash with about 10 communist rebels, four of whom were killed, in Hacienda Builder, Barangay San Pablo in Manapla, Negros Occidental on Thursday.
1Lt. Dansan Camua, civil-military operations officer of the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion (79IB), said Friday those who died during the encounter were behind the extortion activities in northern Negros.
“We were informed that there is extortion going on in the area so we responded,” Camua told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.
Those killed were identified as Marilyn “Monet” Badayos, finance officer of the Northern Negros Front (NNF) and former secretary of the South East Front; Ronilo “Wowie” Desabille, propaganda and education officer; Rody “Brod” Carbajosa, finance and logistics officer of Sentro de Grabidad Platoon; and Rufino “Simo” Bocaval, taxation and finance committee member.
“They are mobile and they go to places where they still have mass supporters and stay there to rest,” Camua said.
However, when they came to the area of Barangay San Pablo, the locals reported their presence to the government forces, he said, noting that after the death of Badayos and her three comrades, they expect reduced extortion activities of the NNF remnants.
“It has a big impact (on their operation). Although it will not totally stop, but somehow the extortion activities will lessen,” Camua said.
Police records show that Badayos was arrested in this city in 2011 for her involvement in the killing of an Army Scout Ranger but was released on bail.
In 2016, she was again arrested in Negros Oriental for homicide related to the killing of a 79IB soldier in Bais City, Negros Oriental.
Badayos also had an arrest warrant for three counts of attempted murder involving the ambush of police officers in Candoni, Negros Occidental in the same year.
Earlier, Maj. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said the Army, in collaboration with the police, foiled one of the major extortion activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – NPA in Negros Island with the death of the four communist rebels.
“(They) were the ‘brains’ of extortion scheme. They were responsible for all extortion activities in the area (that targeted) big companies, construction firms, and private individuals for years,” he added.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)