NDF consultant, 4 others nabbed by police in Laguna
Updated @ 12:47 a.m., Oct. 17, 2018
SAN PEDRO CITY — A consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) was arrested along with four others in a police operation in Santa Cruz town, Laguna province, on Monday afternoon, police said on Tuesday.
Adelberto Silva, 71, a former political detainee released along with Communist Party of the Philippines leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon in August 2016, was arrested at 2 p.m. on Monday at Barangay Pagsawitan.
Arrested with Silva were Erineo Atader, 55; Edicel Legaspi, 60; Hedda Calderon, 63; and Julio Lusania, 53.
A report from the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) Police Regional Office on Tuesday said the “manhunt operation” against Silva was carried out by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-National Capital Region for possession of illegal firearms and explosives.
This came months after the Manila Regional Trial Court in January issued an order to rearrest Silva and the Tiamzon couple after it revoked their temporary liberty.
They were released in 2016 supposedly to join peace negotiations with the government. President Duterte later terminated the talks.
Supt. Meliton Salvadora, commander of the Laguna police’s public safety company, said Silva and his companions were in a car headed south of Laguna when arrested.
“[But] as to the details [of where they were headed and the case], it’s the CIDG that has them. We (Laguna police) only provided security,” Salvadora said in a telephone interview.
He said the suspects were considered “high-risk.”
According to the police report, among those recovered from Silva’s group were a .45-caliber gun, a rifle, a hand grenade, an improvised explosive and bullets.
The report showed Silva’s home address to be in Pagsanjan, a town next to Santa Cruz.
Casey Cruz, spokesperson for Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Southern Tagalog, said the five political activists were taken to the Philippine National Police headquarters at Camp Crame, Quezon City.
She said they would undergo inquest proceedings in Santa Cruz on Tuesday.
“As we can see … the government is serious about its crackdown against leader-activists in Southern Tagalog [to justify its claims] of the ‘Red October’ [destabilization] plot,” Cruz said in a telephone interview.
“But we remain steadfast in our calls to resume peace talks and our calls for the government to address our legitimate issues,” she added.
In Nueva Ecija province, four women suspected to be New People’s Army (NPA) rebels were arrested on Saturday by the military and the police in Rizal town.
Yolanda Ortiz, Eulalia Ladesma, Rachel Galario and Elaine Amocling were allegedly conducting “recruitment, propaganda and extortion” activities at Barangay Agbannawag when they were arrested, the military said.
The military also reported seizing from them a submachine gun, bullets, four hand grenades and improvised explosive devices.
But human rights watchdog Karapatan on Tuesday said they were activists, not NPA rebels, and asked for their release.
According to Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, Ortiz, 46, is a member of Anakpawis, and Ladesma, 44, of Gabriela.
Amocling, 23, and Galario, 20, are youth activists who have been advocating farmers’ rights, Palabay said.
She said Ortiz and Ladesma had been “badly beaten by their captors,” citing bruises on their faces.
But Lt. Col. Eugene Osias, public information chief of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division, said Karapatan had no evidence that the four women had been tortured.
Osias said the four women were “declared OK” after they underwent medical examination following their arrest. —With a report from Tonette Orejas
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