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Davao City, Philippines

‘Most wanted’ NPA leader arrested

August 13, 2019 - Tuesday 11:08 AM by Ruth Palo

NPA leader Leonilo Gonzales alias Kumander Banakon is booked at the Davao City Police Office. Photo courtesy of DCPO PIO

DAVAO CITY -- A top leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) allegedly involved in a series of attacks and harassment in Region 11 was arrested at his residence in New Corella, Davao del Norte on August 11, 2019.

Davao City Police Office (DCPO) chief Colonel Alexander Tagum identified the suspect as Leonilo Gonzales alias Kumander Banakon, 44, a farmer who leads the NPA’s Pulang Bagani 1.

He was arrested by joint personnel of the DCPO, New Corella Municipal Police Station, the Army’s 16th Infantry Battalion (IB) and 25th IB based on a standing warrant of arrest for various crimes issued by the different Branches of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) 11, Davao City.

Gonzales is facing three counts of murder with no bail bond recommended issued by RTC Branch 17 Presiding Judge Emmanuel Carpio; frustrated murder issued by Judge Melinda Alconcel-Dayanghirang of RTC Branch 54 with P200,000 bail bond recommended; attempted murder issued by Judge Evalyn Arellano-Morales of RTC Branch 11 with P120,000 bail bond recommended; and multiple attempted murder issued by Judge Emmanuel Carpio.

Gonzales also has a warrant of arrest for homicide issued by Judge Jill Rose Jaugan-Lo of RTC Branch 14 with P100,000 recommended bond; robbery issued by Judge Jaugan-Lo with no bail recommended; and sedition issued by Judge Evalyn Arellano-Morales with no bail bond set.

Tagum said Gonzales was involved in a series of attacks and harassment in Region 11 such as the burning incident in Lapanday Corporation in Mandug here in 2017 and the harassment and abduction of five police officers at the Paquibato Police Station in 2016.

Tagum said Gonzales was responsible for the attack on Panabo Police Station in 2011 in which one police officer was killed.

Gonzales was listed as the City Level’s Top 2 in the Internal Security Operations watchlist of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

He is now under the custody of the Investigation and Detective Management Branch (IDMB) at the headquarters of the DCPO for proper disposition of the case.

In a media interview, Gonzales said he had already left the armed struggle in 2018 to live a normal life but admitted to committing the crimes.

Tagum told MDM that the arrest of alias Kumander Banakon is “a big blow” to the NPA operating in the city and neighboring provinces of North Cotabato and Bukidnon.

He said this only shows the rebels can run but cannot hide forever.

“The long arm of the law eventually wins in the end,” he said.

In a text message to MDM, 10th Infantry Division spokesperson Captain Jerry Lamosao said peace is within reach with the people and government working together.

Lamosao further said that the arrest of alias Banakon, a known NPA notorious personality, is a manifestation of the united effort to end the armed conflict.

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