Felimon Mendrez. (file photo from Central Visayas regional police)

Felimon Mendrez. (file photo from Central Visayas regional police)

Government troops arrested a ranking New People’s Army (NPA) leader labeled as the country’s sixth most wanted man during an operation in Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, on Tuesday morning, military officials said.

Felimon Mendrez, commander of the NPA Kilusang Rehiyon Negros’ Regional Strike Force, was arrested in Brgy. Tubod around 10 a.m., Col. Francisco Zosimo Patrimonio, commander of the Army’s 302nd Brigade, said.

Operatives of the 302nd Brigade, 33rd Military Intelligence Company, 11th Infantry Battalion, and the Negros Oriental Provincial Police carried out the arrest on warrants for robbery in band and rebellion, Patrimonio said in a text message.

Mendrez, who uses the aliases Tatay and Edon, is number 6 in the police’s most wanted list and has a P5.25-million bounty on his head, said Maj. Enrico Ileto, spokesman of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.

Before holding his current position in the rebel movement, Mendrez served as head of the NPA Central Visayas’ Front Committee 2 and deputy head of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ Central Visayas Revolutionary Party Committee, Ileto said.

Mendrez had led some successful tactical offensives against troops in Negros Island and other areas of Central Visayas, Patrimonio said.

“The arrest will certainly give a better opportunity for us in Central Visayas to celebrate the holidays more peacefully,” Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta, commander of the 3rd ID, said.

“Law enforcement operations” shall continue even as troops observe a suspension of offensive military operations, Mabanta added. (John Roson)

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