Sawmill operator owns vehicle used by arrested top NPA leader

December 19, 2010 1:12 am 

CAMP RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ, Butuan City, Dec. 18 – Police have identified the owner of the vehicle used by a top New People's Army (NPA) leader and his four companions when they were arrested at a check point in Barangay Fili, Bayugan, Agusan del Sur almost noon Friday.

Sr. Supt. Nestor Monton Fajura, Chief of Staff and Operations chief of the Caraga PNP regional office, said investigators traced the red Isuzu D-MAX (KEX-6O1) to certain Raquel Signo of Block 25, Lot 20, Emenville Subdivision, this city.

Fajura said that investigation showed that Signo was also one of the owners of Butuan City-based sawmill located at the bank of Agusan River long been asked by environmental groups to be removed due to pollution and too much silting that caused major floods.

The sawmill was suspected to be the launching pad and stockroom for smuggled hard wood species.

Fajura could not say why the arrested top NPA leader and his men were using Signo's vehicle during their arrest.

Joint police and military operatives arrested Friday Pedro Gerana Codaste 6O, married, resident of Barangay Tungao, Butuan City and four of his companions in a checkpoint along national highway in Barangay Fili, Bayugan, Agusan del Sur.

Codaste, a.k.a. 'Gonyong', turned out to be the Front Secretary of the communist New People's Army in North Central Mindanao Regional Committee.

Codaste's companions were identified as Norberto Maturan Espina Jr., 57, of Barangay Tungao, Butuan City; Azarraga Bocala Eleazar, 58, resident of Purok 8, Barangay Jose Rizal, Butuan City; Eddie Pestaño Alegre, 28, resident of Barangay Langihan, Butuan City; and Hector Eco Camilotes, 48, a resident of Purok 4, Barangay Sanghan, Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte.

Codaste's arrest was based on an arrest warrant issued by Judge Pelagio B. Estopia of Regional Trial Court 1Oth Judicial Branch 8 in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon for multiple murder and double frustrated murder docketed under Criminal Case numbers 20162-09 and 20163-09 with bail bond fixed at P2OO,OOO. (PNA) RMA/BS/rsm

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