Philippines : NPA official arrested in Samar

TACLOBAN CITY—An alleged high ranking official of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in Samar has been arrested and is now detained at the provincial jail in Catbalogan City.

Erwin Lagucay, 28, was arrested Sunday night and has been charged with illegal possession of explosives before the provincial prosecutor’s office in Basey town, Samar. A hand grenade, a blasting cap, two improvised explosive devices and bladed weapons were found in his bag during his arrest.

Army officials in the Eastern Visayas described Lagucay as a leader of the NPA’s Centro de Gravidad and head of the organizing committee of the Jorge Bolito Command which operates in Samar province.

Inspector Eric Loterio, police chief of Sta. Rita, Samar, said Lagucay was arrested at 11:58 p.m. on June 21 in Barangay Magsaysay.

“He was standing on the street when was arrested by the members of the Army’s intelligence group,” Loterio, in a phone interview, said.

He said an informant tipped off the intelligence group on the presence of Lagucay.

Lagucay was said to be a resident of Barangay Villa Aurora in Basey, once a stronghold of the communist group in the region.

The suspect denied being a leader but only a member of the rebel group, Loterio said, adding that. Lagucay also admitted involvement in an ambush and a raid on a paramilitary detachment in Sta. Rita.

The ambush in 2005 resulted in the death of a policeman while firearms of the members of the Civilian Auxiliary Forces Geographic Unit were taken from the detachment.

Captain Andrew Linao of 8th Infantry Division’s public affairs office based in Catbalogan said that the arrest of Lagucay was “big blow” to the NPA.

“He was not just an ordinary member of the NPA but one of their high-ranking leaders,” said Linao, over the phone.



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