SURIGAO CITY — The military on Saturday insisted that the high-ranking officer of the New People’s Army (NPA) it has captured in this city early this week was an active member of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Arpel Rabago, who was intercepted at a police checkpoint here Wednesday (July 5), was described by the military as vice commander of of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 16 (GF16) operating in this city and parts of Surigao del Norte.
NPA GF16 spokesperson commander Ka Oto Rey Calaste, also known as Ka Oto, refuted this claim, saying Rabago left the rebel group as early as 2014, suggesting that Rabago was expelled for his “drinking habits.”
2Lt. Jonel Castillo, Civil Military Operation Officer of the Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion (IB) based in Surigao del Norte, countered that Rabago is still in the thick of his involvement with the NPA.
Based on documents recovered from previous encounters with the NPA, Lt. Castillo said the military found out that Rabago was still active with the rebel movement, but had been given a new assignment.
“He (Rabago) is still listed as a member of the NPA, based on their own documents that our troops were able to recover in past encounters,” Castillo told the Philippine News Agency.
While the military official conceded that Rabago had “laid low” from the communist guerrilla movement since 2014, Castillo said Rabago had been tasked to “monitor” military movements and coordinate with the NPA on regular basis.
Even if Rabago is no longer vice commander of GF16—as its spokesperson has asserted—the military official said there was denying that Rabago had been a high ranking NPA cadre.
Rabago, also known as Ka Yoyo, has pending arrest warrants for frustrated murder, multiple attempted murder, kidnapping and serious illegal detention. He is held on aa total of P320,000 bail for all charges. Rey C. Suravasquez/PNA