Two high-ranking members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were apprehended Monday night in Sitio Sigsag, Barangay Batasan in Occidental Mindoro province, according to authorities.

Jessie Paclivar Payas, alias “Ka Rico/Vergel”, 59, and his brother, Noel Paclivar Payas, alias “Ka Elmo”, 56, were arrested based on murder raps lodged against them, a report by the Police Regional Office (PRO) MIMAROPA said.

Ka Rico was nabbed under arrest warrants issued by Branch 46 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in San Jose for the crimes of two counts of murder and multiple murder, while Ka Elmo was apprehended under a separate warrant for the crime of two counts of murder. No bail was recommended for the Payas brothers.

The police report also said Ka Rico was formerly designated as the deputy secretary of the Sangay Military Sektor Rapos, KD Felizardo Aquino, Mindoro Island Party Committee (MIPC) and team leader of the former APU ERROL, SC RAPOS, District Committee FAD, MIPC whose areas of operations cover the Municipalities of Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro and Magsaysay, Rizal, and San Jose in Occidental Mindoro.

The said personalities were arrested in a joint police operation launched by the Regional Special Operations Team; Occidental Mindoro Provincial Field Unit of CIDG Regional Field Unit MIMAROPA; 10th Special Action Battalion of the PNP SAF; 23rd Military Intelligence Company of 2nd Military Intelligence Battalion, and 4th Infantry Battalion, 203rd Brigade of the Philippine Army; Provincial Intelligence Units of Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro Police Provincial Offices; Provincial Intelligence Team of the Regional Intelligence Unit 4B; PNP Intelligence Group; 1st Provincial Maneuver Force Company; San Jose Municipal Police Station of Occidental Mindoro Police Provincial Office and 405th Maneuver Company of the Regional Maneuver Force Battalion 4B.

PRO MIMAROPA Regional Director P/Brig. Gen. Sidney Sultan Hernia said they attributed the success of the said operations to the concerted efforts of PNP units and the Philippine Army backed by the support of the public which was considered vital to their information gathering.

“The arrest of these Communist Terrorist Group members is another manifestation of our strong commitment to rounding up all criminals and terrorist groups hiding from the law,” Hernia said.

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.