NPA leader arrested in Davao del Norte

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Leonilo Gonzales alias Kumander Banakon

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 13) — Authorities have arrested an alleged notorious leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Davao del Norte.

Davao City Police Office (DCPO) chief Colonel Alexander Tagum said the suspect, Leonilo Gonzales alias Kumander Banakon, was arrested in his home on August 11. Police said the arrest was based on a standing warrant of arrest against Gonzales for various heinous crimes including murder, homicide, and robbery issued by different courts in the city.

Regional police said the arrested NPA leader was involved in a series of attacks and harassment in the Davao region, such as the burning incident at Lapanday Corporation in Mandug in 2017 and the abduction of five police officers of Paquibato Police Station in 2016. He was also allegedly responsible for the attack on the Panabo Police Station in 2011 that killed one police officer. Kumander Banakon was listed as the Top 2 in the Internal Security Operations watch list of the Philippine National Police.

He is now under the custody of the Investigation and Detective Management Branch at the headquarters of the Davao City Police Office.

Tagum said the arrest of Kumander Banakon is a big blow to the communist rebel group operating in Davao del Norte and neighboring provinces of North Cotabato and Bukidnon in terms of morale and strategic importance. He said the arrest only shows that criminals cannot remain hidden forever.

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

CNN Philippines stringer Ruth Palo contributed to this report.