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Top Negrense rebel nabbed in Laguna

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Francisco “Frank” Fernandez, the number 1 most wanted rebel in Negros Occidental, was arrested in Laguna province for illegal possession of firearms and explosives., the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced on Monday.

Fernandez, a 71-year-old former Roman Catholic priest, and two companions were apprehended in Barangay Calumpang, Liliw town last Sunday.

“The operation that led to their arrest was part of our aggressive campaign against crime, terrorism and wanted persons,” PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde said.

Albayalde said the arrest of the Negrense rebel will “greatly affect the leadership aspect” of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-New People’s Army (NPA)-National Democratic Front.

The two others arrested were Cleofe Lagtapon, NPA-Negros’ regional deputy for communications and education; and Gee-Ann Perez, a suspected NPA regional communications staff.

The PNP said the arrested persons would be charged with violation of Commission on Election Resolution 10429 in relation to the Omnibus Election Code; violation of Republic Act 10591 (Illegal possession of firearms); and violation of Republic Act 9516 (Illegal possession of explosives).

Fernandez has four standing arrest warrants for murder.