NPA leader, 3 others arrested in Sarangani province

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 10) — Government forces captured a ranking commander of the New People's Army (NPA) and three other members of the rebel group on Thursday in Sarangani province, authorities said.

Nicanor Pason, alias Kumander Costan — said to be the leader of the guerilla front operating in Sarangani, South Cotabati and Sultan Kudarat — was wounded and arrested during the joint operation of the Army's 27th Infantry Battalion and the police in Sarangani's Maitum town. Also arrested were Bernard Presbetero (alias commander Aldrin), Josephine Sumagaysay, and Reynaldo Loyola.

The Army's 10th Infantry Division said in a statement that Costan was captured following a tip from disgruntled former members of his group, who have since returned to the fold of the law.

It said operatives were supposed to serve 10 warrants of arrest for cases including murder and arson against Costan and several others, but the rebel leader resisted and threw a grenade that wounded a member of the arresting team.

Two hand grenades. several blasting caps. a mobile phone. and documents were reported recovered from the rebels during the arrest.

Costan was taken to hospital for treatment, while Presbetero, Sumagaysay, and Loyola were temporarily brought to the municipal police station, authorities added.