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Philippine Rebels Cut Attacks, Back Talks, Leader Says

November 13, 1986|United Press International

MANILA — A captured guerrilla leader said Wednesday that the Communist New People's Army has scaled down its military activities and supports peace talks with the government of President Corazon Aquino.

Rodolfo Salas, 38, alleged chief of the New People's Army until his capture Sept. 29, appeared in a Manila court for arraignment on rebellion charges. The arraignment was postponed until Nov. 21 to allow defense attorneys to study the charges.

Salas denied a claim by an armed forces spokesman, Col. Honesto Isleta, that the National Democratic Front, which represents the outlawed New People's Army in the four-month-old peace talks, has no control over the rebel forces.

"That is not true," Salas told reporters.

He said the guerrilla army of 23,000 fighters supports the National Democratic Front and the peace negotiations, which since Aug. 5 have centered on reaching a cease-fire in the 17-year-old insurgency.

Only 'Notorious Elements'

Salas said that since Feb. 25, when Aquino was swept to power in a military-led revolt against Ferdinand E. Marcos, the rebels have reduced their military operations.

"They are now hitting only the notorious elements of the armed forces. The attacks will continue until there is a cease-fire," he said.

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