MANILA – Elite government forces thwarted yet another plot by local communist terrorists to assassinate government officials in the security sector, including “talking heads” of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
This was announced Friday by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. following a shootout in Sta. Rosa City in Laguna that led to the death of three members of the New People’s Army (NPA) hit squad tasked to undertake the mission.
“One of their missions is to hit NTF-ELCAC talking heads. However, they were pre-empted. Our gratitude to our partners in NTF-ELCAC, including members of the armed forces and the police,” said Esperon, the Vice Chairman of the anti-communist insurgency Task Force.
He lauded the officers and men the 202 Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), and the Laguna Police Provincial Office for the successful operations.
Only last week, Esperon announced the addition of six more spokespersons for NTF-ELCAC. Besides Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. and Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, the fresh batch of agency talking heads includes Undersecretaries Jonathan Malaya, Severo Catura, and Joel Sy Egco; Asst. Secretary Celine Pialago; Atty. Marlon Bosantog and Gaye Florendo.
Parlade is the designated spokesperson on security sector concerns; Badoy on social media issues and sectoral concerns; Malaya on local government and the Barangay Development Program; Catura, human rights, peace process, and international engagements; Egco, media engagements, and fact-checker; Pialago, public affairs and youth concerns; Bosantog, legal affairs and Indigenous People concerns; and Florendo, assistant spokesperson on public affairs and IP concerns.
In a similar incident in January, five members of the communist hit squad were killed in Baras, Rizal who were also tasked to assassinate top national and local government leaders and police and military officers.
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison recently released an order from his self-imposed exile in the Netherlands to its armed wing, the NPA, to deploy so-called armed partisan units and special operations groups to cities and major town centers. This was confirmed by the CPP Central Committee.
Esperon’s pronouncements came after combined military and police forces orchestrated a joint law enforcement operation to serve warrants of arrest against communist terrorist group (CTG) leader Rommel Riza alias Jomar/Bernie, the commanding officer of the NPA’s Regional Special Operations Group in Southern Tagalog. Riza was also a member of the executive committee of the Regional Party Committee.
Government troops swooped down on the safe house of the CTG leader shortly past midnight on May 21, 2021, in Buena Rosa Subdivision, Brgy. Macabling, Sta. Rosa City by virtue of five warrants for multiple attempted murder and murder issued by Honorable Executive and Presiding Judge Aurora V Maqueda-Roman of RTC Br 61 Gumaca, Quezon; Kidnapping with Murder w/ CC # 11-3248 and 11-3249 issued by Honorable Judge Rodolfo D Obnamia Jr of RTC Branch 64 of Mauban, Quezon.
Esperon said during the service of said WOAs, the suspect and two other members of the death squad fired upon the arresting officers, triggering a gunfight that resulted in the death of Riza; Ka Blue/Billy, the Medic/Supply Officer; and Ka Dean, the group’s intelligence officer.
Recovered from the suspects were an M16 Armalite rifle, two .45 caliber pistols, several electronic devices, and subversive documents of high intelligence value.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PR)