|NPA finance officer nabbed in Butuan City|
|[PhilStar] The Philippine offensive against communist rebels yielded another prize with the arrest of the suspected finance officer of the Mindanao-based New People's Army in Butuan City. The arrest of Leonida Guao – who also goes by Ka Lea, Ka Ligaya and Ka Laya – came following the arrest of NPA leader Rafael Baylosis last Thursday.|
Eastmincom commander Benjamin Madrigal said Guao was arrested in Barangay Banding, Butuan City on Friday. He said village leaders informed the military that Guao was hiding in their community.
Eastmincom spokesperson Ezra Balagtey said Guao is wanted for murder. She said Guao served as the NPA finance officer for all guerrilla fronts operating in Mindanao.
A militant lawmaker warned that the NPA could resort to arresting government peace negotiators in retaliation for Baylosis' arrest. Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao said, "If the arrest of NDF consultants temporarily released on bail continues, it might reach a point where the NPA would declare they will also arrest government negotiators and consultants."
Activists said the arrest of Baylosis was in violation of the immunity guarantee agreement. Baylosis was among 18 militants who were freed as peace consultants to participate in doomed peace talks in The Netherlands. Following the collapse of negotiations, President Duterte ordered the rearrest of the freed insurgents.
Meanwhile, eight NPA militants surrendered to the military on Friday and linked a local official in the alleged recruitment of rebels.
Westmincom commander Carlito Galvez said three of those who surrendered linked a local official to the CPP-NPA. The military did not divulge the identity of the official, who was described to be facilitating the organization of the lumads as NPA fighters purportedly to reclaim their ancestral lands.