A SIXTY-YEAR-OLD university professor suspected to be the secretary of the Metro Manila Regional Party Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army (CPP-NDF-NPA) was arrested by combined agents of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces in her rented posh condominium unit in Quezon City early Monday morning, PNP chief General Oscar D. Albayalde announced yesterday.
“She is a typical example of a rebel leader living luxuriously while their colleagues are dying in the mountains,” said Gen. Albayalde of Esterlita Espinosa Suaybaguio alias ‘Nali/Loida/Ester’ who was arrested inside Unit 9H of Escalades Condominum Compound located along 20th Avenue in Cubao, Q.C.
‘’She was monitored to have been renting a unit at the Escalades in Cubao, a not-so-ordinary condominium where a unit cost P30,000 to P40,000 a month,” the PNP chief said adding the capture of the suspect is a “big blow” to the rebel organization.
Gen. Albayalde said they are also monitoring the presence of some prominent rebel leaders and their above ground supporters whose children are studying in high-end universities and colleges in Metro Manila
He was joined by National Capital Region Police Office director Major General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, Q.C. Police District director, Brigadier General Joselito T. Esquivel Jr. , QCPD deputy director Colonel Arthur Bisnar and Armed Forces of the Philippines Joint Task Force-National Capital Region officials Brig. Gen. Alex DC. Luna and Colonel Noel Mapili in yesterday’s press conference.
Eleazar said that Suaybaguio was arrested during the service of a search warrant for illegal possession of firearms and explosives issued by the Q.C. Regional Trial Court Branch 89. Police sought the search warrant following a tip from an “ex-NPA rebel” regarding the whereabouts of the suspect.
Around 2 a.m. Monday, combined operatives of the NCRPO Regional Special Operations Unit headed by Lieutenant Colonel Rogarth Campo, the NCRPO Regional Intelligence Division under Lt. Col. Gil Torralba and the QCPD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit headed by Major Elmer Monsalve, backed up by troops from the Army, the Joint Special Operations Group of the AFP and the PNP Special Action Force raided the suspect’s place.
Eleazar said that recovered during the search were one caliber 9mm pistol with serial no. 57100260, one 9mm magazine with eight live ammunition, a hand grenade and suspected rebel documents. The raid was witnessed by two local barangay officials and a condominium security officer.
The NCRPO director said that the suspect was fully informed of her Miranda Rights during the operation, was subjected to a physical examination by the Q.C. District Health Office before being taken to the QCPD headquarters in Camp Karingal where she was charged with violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 and RA 9516 or illegal possession of explosives.
Esquivel denied charges by leftist groups that the gun and grenade seized from the suspect’s possession were “planted” “She’s a teacher na literally ay ‘nilaglag’ ng mga dati niyang kasama. Yung claim na ‘planted’ naman ang ebidensiya ay usual na alibi nila yan,” Esquivel said.
Suaybaguio was described as a former Secretary of the CPP/NPA White Area Committee of Komite Mindanao (KOMMID) before she came out and exposed herself as a leftist.
“She was positively identified by intelligence agents on the ground and was cross-referenced with some former rebels whom she had worked with in the past. She was also identified by some would-be recruits who did not continue upon hearing her teachings that were mostly communist and leaning towards overthrowing the government,” Eleazar said adding that the suspect’s arrest prevented her recruiting more students to the underground movement.
DILG hails arrest
Meanwhuile the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) yesterday described the arrest of a ranking leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as a major accomplishment against communist terrorism.
According to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Suaybaguio’s arrest was a huge victory for the government and the Filipino people.
The DILG chief lauded the joint elements of the National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Task Force Kalasag who worked altogether in information gathering, monitoring, surveillance and eventually on the fall of Suaybaguio.
Año said that prior to Suaybaguio’s new post as Metro Manila’s committee secretary, she was formerly the Secretary of Southern Mindanao Regional Party Committee and Komisyon Mindanao (KOMMID).
She was reportedly handpicked by the CPP’s Central committee to revitalize student, youth and labor recruitment for the communist movement in Metro Manila.
“She is one example of CPP/NPA leader masquerading as a peace advocate. She is a party member, NPA rebel yet at the same time an NDF Consultant for the failed peace talks. This is the deception that they have shown not only to the PH government but also to the Filipino people,” he said.
The DILG chief said that Suaybaguio is a respondent in separate multiple murder and frustrated murder cases including the murder of patrolman Ronald U. Napalan Jr. of Regional Mobile Force Battalion of PNP Caraga on June 29, 2019.
With Joel dela Torre