Village councilor, preacher nabbed in Bohol for ‘illegal firearms, explosives’
TAGBILARAN CITY — A village councilor and a preacher accused of keeping illegal firearms and explosives were arrested in separate operations Friday in Bohol province.
Carmilo Nuera Tabada, a village councilor, was arrested around 1 a.m. in Barangay Poblacion in Trinidad town, while Nathaniel Bernales Vallente, a church paster, was taken at 2 a.m. in Barangay San Jose in Mabini town.
The operations were conducted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Philippine National Police, and Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Aside from his work as a village councilor, Tabada, 51, also served as coordinator of the Farmers Development Center (Fardec), a non-government organization composed of marginalized farmers.
Vallente, 52, is an active counselor of the Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa San Jose (Namasajo), one of the peasant groups in Bohol.
The police said Tabada is the leader of the “Tabada Crime Group” engaged in gunrunning in Bohol and an active supporter of Communist Terrorist Groups (CTG) Bohol Party Committee.
Seized from Tabada’s home in Purok 2 in Barangay Poblacion were a .45 caliber pistol, KG9, and a grenade.
Authorities also recovered four .45-caliber gun, a .38 caliber gun, live ammunition, and anti-government documents from the house of Vallente.
Vallente is a pastor-teacher of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines based in Mabini.
The police said Vallente is an active supporter of the CTG Bohol Party Committee and a member of the Tabada Crime Group engaged in gunrunning.
In a statement, Fardec denounced the series of attacks. Fardec said Tabada is a barangay councilor and “leader of esteemed commitment that greatly helped implement our projects for peasant communities in Bohol.”
Tabada joined Fardec in 1998 and became Bohol coordinator in 2002, the statement said.
Among the results of Tabada’s efforts and grassroots networks was a rice mill in Trinidad, which aided local farmer unions in setting rice prices and breaking buyer monopolies before its forced closure in December 2020.
“This newest incident of attack on Fardec impedes our operations toward truly eradicating poverty and hunger among farmers in Central Visayas,” the statement said.
The group called for the immediate release of Tabada, Vallente, and other peasant leaders in Bohol, who have been “victimized by intense counter-insurgency pretense in recent weeks.”
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