A 21-year-old squad leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to authorities in Himalayan City, Negros Occidental last Friday.
Col. Leonardo Pena, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade, identified the rebel returnee as Jerryd Gargoles, also known in the underground movement as “Sargent” and “Ka Angel.”
Pena said Gargoles was the team leader of Squad 1, Regional Strike Force (RSF) of an NPA Regional Committee operating in Negros provinces, Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor.
As a squad leader, Gargoles allegedly led his team’s assault against various government troops and installations.
Last August, the military said that the NPA regional committee in which Gargoles was a part of was already facing collapse following the arrest of its six leaders.
Pena said Gargoles voluntarily submitted himself to the troops of the 302nd IB 16th Scout Ranger Company (16SRC).
He turned over a caliber .45 pistol, a KG-9 caliber 9mm pistol, two magazines with 28 rounds of ammunition, and various documents with “essential value” supposedly to determine the plans of the NPAs in the area.
Pena welcomed Gargoles in a simple ceremony at the 302nd IB camp in Barangay Carabalan.
He said he was glad that the young combatant realized that there are better opportunities for him outside the communist movement where he would “only go astray.”
“I thank Mr. Jerryd Gargoles for his decision to lay down his arms and move out from the deceitful belief that the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA imparts to their recruits and their members,” Pena said.
“We will help Jerryd restore a normal life with his loved ones. This is a clear manifestation that members of the CPP-NPA are losing their will to fight and the confidence with their movement because of their false ideology,” he added.
The military commander commended the 16th Scout Ranger Company for convincing the young NPA squad leader to give up his armed struggle.
“We encourage the remaining members of the terrorist group to heed the government’s call for peace. Our relentless effort to hunt you down will surely give you a miserable life,” Pena said.