MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – One of the top leaders of the armed communist movement was captured Monday night by soldiers and police in a joint operation in Bulacan province, the military said.
Allan Jazmines, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), was arrested by troops from the Army’s Northern Luzon Command and Philippine National Police officers at around 6 p.m. at a safe house in Villa Aurea, Barangay Subic, Baliuag town, Armed Forces' spokesman Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta said.
He was arrested for murder and rebellion based on arrest warrants issued by courts in Calauag, Quezon province and Lucena City, Mabanta said.
Army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz said Jazmines was captured by elements of the 56th Infantry Battalion, the 703rd Brigade, the 7th Military Intelligence Battalion of the 7th Infantry Division, the Intelligence Security Group, and Bulacan police.
Jazmines, who allegedly uses the aliases “Dex,” “Tomas,” and “Arthur,” is a member of the CPP's Executive Committee and Political Bureau, Ortiz said.
The military did not say if Jazmines is covered by the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) between the government and the armed communist movement.
The government and the National Democratic Front on Monday declared a 7-day ceasefire starting Tuesday during the duration of the formal peace talks between the 2 sides in Norway.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles said there was already a prior agreement between the government and NDF panels that the truce would be enforced.
A statement issued from her office said the military and Philippine National Police shall observe a suspension of offensive military and police operations (SOMO/SOPO) against the CPP and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), for a total of 7 days, from 12:01 a.m. of February 15 to 11:59 p.m. of February 21.
"The SOMO shall cover only deliberate offensive military actions against the New People’s Army. It shall not cover defensive military actions aimed at securing and protecting the community, and individual and units of the AFP against violent attack," the statement read.
Mabanta said the ceasefire "will not preclude our soldiers from taking action in self-defense and to protect communities from armed threats.”