BACOLOD CITY — Joint police and military personnel arrested six members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in separate operations at Barangay Buenavista in Himamaylan City in Southern Negros Occidental on Wednesday.

A report from the Philippine Army identified one of them as Rodrigo Medez “Salvo”, secretary of local party branch of Central Negros Front (CNF), Komiteng Rehiyong-Negros (KR-N), and member of Yunit Militia.

The five others included Jimmy Teves, Jodito Montecino, JP Romano, Eliseo Andres, and Roger “Jack” Sabanal, who are from the local party branch and Yunit Militia members.

Lt. Col. Egberto Dacoscos, commanding officer of 62nd Infantry Battalion (62IB), said in a statement all were arrested “in accordance with existing laws” through a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Rodney Magbanua of Regional Trial Court Branch 61 in Kabankalan City.

Each of them faces two counts of murder and six counts of frustrated murder for the deaths of two soldiers and injury of six others during the clash between government troops and communist rebels at Sitio Bunsad, Barangay Tan-awan in neighboring Kabankalan City in May last year.

“Their arrest is a big blow to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front in central Negros,” he added.

Personnel of the 2nd Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office Mobile Force Company and the Army’s 62IB served the warrant in the respective homes of the suspects in Sitios Bito, Balatugan and in Dawhan.

Teves, Montecino, and Romano were arrested just before 8 a.m. while Medez and Andres were apprehended at 11:45 a.m. Sabandal was nabbed at 3 p.m.They were endorsed to the Himamaylan City Police Station, the Army report said.

“No one is above the law and no one can escape justice. Sooner or later the NPA will answer for their crimes, either they will get killed in encounters or get arrested,” Dacoscos 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)