TIGAON, Camarines Sur – A notorious NPA banditry gang member was collared by government troops in Camarines Sur yesterday, (October 4), a military report said.
LtCol Ernesto Cruz, the Commander of the 42nd Infantry Battalion said that he sent a platoon of his soldiers together with some policemen to arrest the suspect who was spotted by neighbors inside his house in Panoypoyan village of Bula town at around 8:00am.
Cruz identified the bandit as a certain Benhur Berano a long time member of the CPP-NPA-NDF’s Front Committee 75. The suspect has a standing warrant of arrest for the killing of Sergeant Alfredo Valencia and Private Domingo Alcantara Jr in 2007.
“Many of his former comrades who had surrendered to my unit have pinpointed him as one of the principal suspects in the killing of two soldiers of this battalion three years ago. He was also tagged as one of those who detonated a roadside bomb which killed 5 soldiers in Presentacion town in July 2010,” said Cruz.
Colonel Teodoro Cirilo Torralba, the Commander of the 901st Brigade which has jurisdiction over Camarines Sur has cited the invaluable help provided by the civilian tipsters in the series of arrests and digging of the NPA’s arms cache.
“It was also a civilian informant who led the troops to the staging area of the bandits resulting to an encounter in Lagonoy town on October 1 which left one soldier dead. Bandit members usually go back to their homes when pursuit operations are launched by soldiers but we are lucky to have gained the support of the civilians in the area,” said Torralba.
Torralba also commended the gains of the 42nd Infantry Battalion when the pursuit operations on October 2 yielded three anti-tank mines, 5 anti-personnel mines which according to him, and several bomb-making materials which according to him, “indicated the NPA’s plan to stage ambuscades with roadside bombs against government forces”.
The death of a high-ranking NPA leader identified as Elmer Osila a.k.a. Ka Fredo, the Secretary of the Front Committee 75 has crippled the capabilities of the bandit group.
Ka Fredo was considered as one of the dwindling number of experienced NPA cadres in the Bicol Region