Samar News – Information relayed to military authorities by an alert resident in Sta. Rita, Samar led to the entrapment and capture of a high-ranking communist leader here.
A statement released to the Visayan Business Post by Major Amado Gutierrez of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division disclosed that Erwin Lagucay or ‘Eman’ and NPA Commander of Sentro de Gravidad ‘Botchoy’ was arrested by the Army’s 801st Infantry Brigade in Barangay Magsaysay, Sta. Rita town.
Lagucay is the concurrent head of the Organizing Department of the New People’s Army Jorge Bolito Command.
The NPA leader was arrested after Colonel Leoncio Cirunay, commander of the Army’s 801st Brigade, received information from a concerned civilian about the presence of a suspicious person roaming around their community.
Cirunay ordered an entrapment operation in cooperation with the local Philippine National Police leading to Lagucay’s immediate capture.
Recovered from the rebel leader were a cellular phone, a hand grenade, one blasting cap, two improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and some bladed weapons.
Lagucay reportedly admitted his involvement in an attack at an army detachment in Cancaiyas in 2010 and the 2005 ambush of PNP personnel at Barangay Binanalan in Sta. Rita, Samar.
‘The discovery of IEDs in Lagucay is significant as it is a proof of the (NPA’s) continuous violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law or CARHRIHL’, said a statement issued by the Philippine Army.
CARHRIHL is an agreement between the government and the National Democratic Front which represented the CPP-NPA that prohibits the use of landmines.
Colonel Cirunay lauded the success of the entrapment operation, vowing to continue efforts to clear his unit’s area of operation of NPA’s. Acknowledging the civilian who tipped the information, he called on the people to report NPA activities in their communities so that the rebel group’s inhumane acts can be prevented.
‘With the arrest of the NPA leader and the seizure of the IEDs, the people in Samar will be spared from becoming possible casualties of the seized IED’, Cirungay said.