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Reporter's killers arrested

(CMFR/IFEX) - On 23 May 2001, three alleged leaders of a splinter communist rebel group were arrested because they are suspected of being responsible for the death of radio correspondent Vincent Rodriguez during a river ambush in the northern province of Pampanga, Philippines last year.

The arrests of the three alleged leaders of the Rebolusyonaryong Hukbong Bayan (RHB) came after continuous surveillance by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Arrested were Amador Guevarra alias "Ka Basil" and two others. The RHB is a breakaway faction of the communist rebel group New People's Army (NPA). RHB members have a reputation for extortion, robbery, looting and gun-for-hire activities in the province.

RHB guerillas were the prime suspects believed to belong to the ambush that killed Rodriguez, a provincial correspondent for the Manila-based radio station DZMM. He was covering then President Joseph Estrada's son's visit by boat to several Pampanga river villages. Rodriguez, who was in a second boat, was shot in the head and died instantly. Two other people were injured when their boat crashed into the riverbank.

He was the first Pampanga-based journalist to be killed on duty in the Philippines.

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