Hindi pala siya! Cops free ‘NPA leader’

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Less than a week after arresting what they considered a major target, police released a man who they initially thought was a ranking leader of the New People’s Army.

Western Visayas police chief Police Brig. Gen. John Bulalacao said they released Baltasar Cresosto Saldo, 54, after finding he was not who they thought he was.

Saldo was arrested last June 23 in Cuartero town in Capiz, and presented to media earlier this week. He had denied the claims against him (

During his presentation, the prosecutor found lacking the PNP witness’ statement that Saldo was Virgilio Paragan, the former NPA commander facing murder charges in Negros.

It was learned the witness allegedly did not execute an affidavit that could link Saldo to the cases.

Saldo was eventually released over doubts that he is not Paragan, after the prosecutor did not sign the witness’ affidavit, compelling the police to release Saldo.

It was also noted that the witness was not a complainant in any of the criminal charges filed against Paragan.

In Negros Occidental, Kabankalan police chief Police Maj. Jonel Guadalupe said Saldo was transported from Capiz to Kabankalan late Monday afternoon to verify if he is the person with two standing warrants for murder and attempted murder.

But upon verification, it was learned he is a different person.

Guadalupe said the warrants for murder and attempted murder that served as bases in arresting Saldo were for Virgilio Paragan alias “Hassan.”