By Florence F. Hibionada
ILOILO, PHILIPPINES – A self-proclaimed member of communist terrorist group New People’s Army (NPA) was arrested by operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Western Visayas Regional Office 6 (WEVRO6).
Believed to be behind the series of extortion letters sent out to businessmen in Southern Iloilo, caught was June Tenerife of E.B. Magalona, Negros Occidental.
The 35 year-old suspect was led by one of his victims into an NBI-WEVRO 6 entrapment operation in Sitio Sinigidan, Barangay Tenyente Benito in Tubungan, Iloilo. Tenerife has set up temporary residence in said barangay following his marriage to a local resident.
NBI WEVRO 6 operatives successfully made the arrest early Monday evening without any incident. Among the recoveries were a .45 caliber pistol, five live ammunitions and various Identification Cards bearing Tenerife’s various identities.
ABS-CBN Iloilo’s John Fernandez in a report gathered that among the suspect’s victim was a rice trader in the area with the demand made in an extortion letter. Same NPA-reasoning of “revolutionary tax” was used by the NPA-wannabe with follow-up demand made via a text message.
The NBI-WEVRO 6 is consolidating evidences that has built up against Tenerife and will be used in filing corresponding complaints. Among the charges to be filed are extortion, illegal possession of firearms and grave threats.
NBI WEVRRO 6 Regional Director Elfren Meneses Jr. decided to withhold the identity of the victim for security reasons.
Incidentally, NPA extortion cum demand for “revolutionary tax” is prevalent in Southern Iloilo with known NPA-infiltrated hinterland barangays here. The Municipality of Tubungan for its part has since been subject of NPA attacks particularly cellular site towers of major telecommunication companies.
Tenerite upon his arrest though has reportedly clarified his supposed NPA membership denying the extortion charge while admitting ownership of the gun recovered.
Bureau insiders told Philippine News Service (PNS) that the suspect is also believed to be operating alone.