A former commander of the Roger Mahinay Command, Komiteng Rehiyong-Negros of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) was arrested at Sto. Angel village in Dumalag, Capiz recently.
Brig. Gen. John Bulalacao, regional director of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 (Western Visayas), presented the 54-year-old suspect Baltasar Saldo, also known as Virgilio Paragan alias “Hassan”, in a press briefing yesterday at Camp Delgado in Iloilo City.
The suspect was arrested by the elements of PRO 6, Regional Intelligence Division, and the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion, through numerous warrants of arrests.
Bulalacao said Saldo is facing two attempted murder cases and two murder cases issued by Regional Trial Courts 6 and 7.
“He is dangerous because he is facing cases of murder and attempted murder,” he said.
Saldo was recommended by PRO 7 to be included in the Directorate for Intelligence list of Wanted Persons, Bulalacao added.
He said the suspect was elevated and listed under the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of the National Defense (DILG-DND) Joint Order on CNN/Terrorist Wanted Person with P1.05 million cash bounty.
Also, as former commander of the rebels, the top cop of Western Visayas said Saldo might have been involved in other criminal cases.
Citing investigators, he said Saldo has been in hiding in Capiz for the past 10 years where he worked as driver and personal assistant for a businessman.
“He fell into the hands of the government when he was positively identified and confirmed by a witness that Virgilio Paragan, alias Hassan, and Baltasar Saldo, are one and the same person,” he said.
Meanwhile, Capt. Cenon Pancito, Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division spokesperson, said Saldo became active between the years 2000 to 2004.
“We dug in records that he was part of the series of ambush against our troops and CAFGUs (Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit) of Negros Oriental,” Pancito said in the same press conference.
Although Bulalacao and Pancito said the arrested suspect might have “lied low” in the rebel activities, Pancito said there is still a possibility that Saldo kept contact with the CPP-NPAs.
“Even when he is inactive, we have a certain list to monitor personalities within the area our responsibility who could be operating. Although they can be in “lie low” status, they still keep in touch with the activities in the uplands,” he said.
Bulalacao added there were protocols and process on determining who would receive the cash bounty for Saldo’s arrest.* (Gail Momblan via NDB)