The Boss: Joselito Melloria, former NPA, more powerful than Abu Rami - intel


Blow-by-blow details:
Joselito Melloria, former NPA, greater than Abu Rami – intel
By Michael Ortega

Contrary to earlier reports disclosing that the Bohol-born guide of the Abu Sayyaf Group who drifted into Napo, Inabanga was a mere escort of the dreaded bandits, a fresh information leaked by a highly-placed military intelligence source has indicated that Joselito Melloria was not an ordinary person, but a smart Abu Sayyaf leader more powerful than the slain Abu Rami.

The source, who is in-charge in the handling of the military’s classified documents, yesterday (Saturday) told The Bohol Tribune that Melloria, who is still at large after his group had clashed with government troops on Tuesday morning which left 10 persons dead on both sides of the conflict, was a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in the province of Bohol several years ago.

Bohol was declared as insurgency-free in 2010 after decades of struggle that had cost hundreds of lives of the civilian, military, police, and rebels.

Melloria, 38, was born in Barangay Napo, Inabanga, Bohol, and during his younger years, he served as an asset of the communist rebels.

About 10 years ago, he left Bohol, even before the province was declared insurgency-free.

“At first he was a masa, then he became a full-pledged NPA combatant,” the source said on condition of anonymity.

“Melloria was active in NPA’s operation, particularly in the second district of Bohol,” the source added.

A couple of years ago he suddenly showed up in Napo, Inabanga. His relatives and friends later learned that he had gotten married to a beautiful Muslim woman in Basilan, where the former NPA fighter got converted into the Islam faith.

Sources at Barangay Canlinte, a barangay next to Napo, told The Bohol Tribune that Melloria’s wife has a brother and some relatives who belong to the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group.

When the Abu Sayyaf group, as part of their strategy, decided to divide themselves into smaller groups or sub-groups, Melloria was chosen as head of a sub-group due to his intelligence and new-found dedication to advance the causes of the ASG.

An Associated Press report said Melloria is using the nom de guerre “Abu Alih.”

An intelligence report that reached The Bohol Tribune shortly before the fighting in Napo, Inabanga broke out on Tuesday morning had revealed that an Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) under Muammar Askali alyas Abu Rami was monitored in Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte. Another ASG sub-group was also monitored in the night of Monday (April 11, 2017) in Siquijor province.

(Updated) Earlier, on Saturday (April 9, 2017), the U.S. Embassy issued a travel advisory, warning American citizens about possible kidnapping and bombing attacks in Central Visayas, particularly Cebu and Bohol.

The intel report was later updated indicating that ASG subleader Alhabsy MISAYA with Badong Muktadil and more or less 20 armed men left Kalingalang Caluang, Sulu Province midnight of 29 March 2017, utilizing two speedboats (colored white and gray).

Accordingly, the group will stage a kidnapping activity in the area of Tawi-Tawi and at the cross border area, then will return back to their safe haven in Sulu after their operation.

The military assessment (leaked to Bohol Tribune) said: “Since the informant was left behind, he averred that Alhabsy MISAYA might conduct kidnapping in other areas like in Eastern Mindanao and the Visayas.”

Again, the intel report was updated and at this time, Abu Rami and his group were spotted in Napo, Inabanga.

Early media reports said Joselito Melloria, reportedly wounded in the gunfight last Tuesday morning, was serving as an ASG guide to Bohol due to his in-depth knowledge of the geographic terrains of the province, particularly in the mountains and caves where Francisco Dagohoy, who led the longest revolution against Spain, was hiding for more than 70 years and was never captured until the Boholano hero died.

But as ground reports were collated by military assets in Bohol, it emerged that Melloria was the “boss” of Abu Rami, a foreign-trained sniper and considered “the best among the best” Abu Sayyaf snipers.

In fact, the source said that it was Abu Rami who shot and killed PO2 Rey Anthony Nazareno, a SWAT-Bohol member, and three members of the Philippine Army: 2nd Lt. Estilito Saldua Jr., Corporal Miljune Cajaban, and Sgt. John Dexter Duero.

The gun battle between combined forces of the military/police against the Abu Sayyaf lasted for nearly 21 hours (Tuesday 6 a.m. – Wednesday 3 a.m.).

The snipers, under the command of sub-group leader Abu Rami, were positioned in well-fortified foxhole grounds that it was almost impossible to pinpoint their location.

“This is the very reason there was a request for air strike because our army and police forces were outsmarted,” the source said.

But before the airstrike, which started at around 2 pm on Tuesday, Melloria, together with six (updated 7) other Abu Sayyaf fighters, had managed to slip out of the area.

“Abu Rami was protecting Melloria, his leader,” the source said. “Abu Rami fought till his last breath.”

At the clearing operation, five dead bodies were found in the battle site, including that of Abu Rami.
“There were only three Abus who were killed in the fight,” the source told The Bohol Tribune.

“Yong si Petalco couple, mga civilian asset yon ng military, although close relative sila ni Melloria,” the source said, referring to the elderly couple Constanscio and Crisanta Petalco (both in their late 60s) who perished in the crossfire.

Consider this, the source said, Abu Rami was a top-notch sniper and he provided protection for his boss, Joselito Melloria.

Melloria, as of press time, remains at large. Despite massive deployment of military and police combat troops, Melloria and six (updated 7) other ASG bandits are still on the run.

“Melloria was wounded. He got hit at the back portion of his body, near his left shoulder,” the military source told The Bohol Tribune.

A dead body of another Abu Sayyaf member was found in a shallow grave in Barangay Lonoy Cainsican, a kilometer away from Napo.

According to a source, that Abu Sayyaf whose dead body was found in Cainsican was the “bomb expert.”

“He was probably wounded when they left Napo,” the source said.

An internal memo from the Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO) leaked to the Bohol Tribune revealed that Senior Supt. Felipe Natividad had instructed all chiefs of police in 47 towns of Bohol to stay alert over possible entry to Bohol of Abu Sayyaf re-enforcements from Mindanao.

Intel sources said ASG comrades might stage a daring rescue operation to save Melloria and five (updated 7) other Abu fighters.

It was not clear whether Melloria was accompanying foreign-looking Abu fighters, a report which remains unverified by military sources.

But one thing is sure, the source said, they had planned to conduct bombing and kidnapping activities in Bohol during the Holy Week, and possibly during the ASEAN Summit, if only to make a statement to the Duterte administration who had vowed to wipe out the dreaded Abu Sayyaf Group.

But a little boy, a firewood gatherer, had helped in thwarting the well-planned attacks against the people of Bohol and their tourist visitors. (with a report from the Associated Press)

- Updated: Joselito Melloria killed in Clarin, Bohol clash on April 22, 2017.
Share on Google Plus



Post a Comment