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Alleged Balweg killer arrested in Baguio City

Police arrested on Saturday a leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) allegedly involved in the December 1999 killing of renegade priest and former Cordillera People’s Liberation Army chief Fr. Conrado Balweg, officials said Sunday. The suspect, Francisco Bonoan, acting secretary of the CPP-NPA’s Urban White Area Command and concurrent executive committee member of the Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Party Committee, was collared around 5:30 pm in Irisan, UP Village, Baguio City. Intelligence operatives of the Benguet PNP office brought Bonoan, who uses the aliases Cesar and Jojo, to the PNP’s Camp Dangwa in Benguet for tactical interrogation and later his turnover to the Baguio City judge who issued the warrant for his arrest. Balweg, an SDV (Society of Divine Word) priest, was killed by NPA rebels on December 31, 1999, in Barangay Buanao, Malibcong, Abra. He was accused of "a long list of crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement" as the top leader of the Cordillera People's Liberation Army. The NPA command, which ordered his killing, is reportedly led by his brother, Jovencio who claimed that the CPLA integration to the AFP will lead to the “CPLA lording it over the tribes in Cordillera that would lead to more tribal wars." Supplied with arms and ammunition, the NPA said the CPLA will use these “for criminal purposes such as robbery, holdup, marijuana planting and drug syndicates." The NPA also warned that the CPLA will use its arms to grab lands and territories as they did in Betwagan, a village in Bontoc, Mt. Province. The CPLA was founded in the late 1980s by Balweg, a former top NPA leader in the Cordilleras in the late 70s, but bolted from the rebel group. - GMANews.TV