Labor leader arrested for alleged ties to NPA

Jose Bernardino, the alleged secretary of the New People’s Army in Central Luzon, is shown briefly to the media on Saturday. PHOTO BY TONETTE OREJAS

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga – The Central Luzon police on Saturday (Dec. 5) announced the capture of a labor leader tagged as the secretary of the New People’s Army.

Jose Bernardino, however, told the INQUIRER that he organizes labor and transportation groups, being a leader of the Workers Alliance in Region III, and had no ties to the armed rebels.

Bernardino was shown to the media at a press briefing led by Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, regional police director, but he was whisked away for inquest proceedings at the Pampanga prosecutor.

Col. Amante Daro, chief of the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said Bernardino was arrested in Sapang Maisac village in Mexico town on Friday (Dec. 4), in an operation that was conducted “with regularity.”

Daro said the arrest warrant issued by a court in Nueva Vizcaya involved the killing of four soldiers in 2017 in Kasibu town. The police are awaiting the Nueva Vizcaya court’s commitment order.

De Leon said Bernandino had a bounty of P4.8 million because he had been placed in the DND-DILG (Department of National Defense-Department of the Interior and Local Government) national wanted persons list.

Daro said the police are taking care of Bernardino, who said he has a heart condition and has been taking blood thinning medication.

He also announced the death of Fernando Poblacio aka “Ka Bert” in an encounter with police and Army troopers in Tarlac province on Friday night. TONNETTE OREJAS INQ