NPA leader gets 23 years in jail
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has lauded the conviction of a high-ranking member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) for illegal possession of explosives and firearms.
In a statement, the DOJ said Taguig City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 266, in a decision dated Oct. 7, sentenced Tirso Alcantara, alias “Ka Bart” and “Ka Nissan,” to a minimum imprisonment of 11 years and four months to a maximum term of 16 years, five months and nine days and a fine of P50,000 for illegal possession of explosives.
Alcantara, supposedly an executive committee member of the CPP-NPA, was also sentenced to a minimum of five years, four months and 20 days to a maximum of seven years and four months and a fine of P30,000 for illegal possession of firearm and ammunitions.
All told, Alcantara was meted a jail term ranging from a minimum of 16 years, eight months and 20 days to a maximum of 23 years, nine months and nine days plus fines totaling P80,000.
Alcantara was among the consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF), the CPP’s political arm, named during its on-and-off peace talks with the government since 1987.
He was also among the communist rebel leaders who were declared as “terrorists” by the Anti-Terrorism Council last year.
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla commended the members of the DOJ Task Force on Anti-Terrorism for the successful prosecution of the cases against Alcantara.
According to the DOJ, Alcantara was captured on Jan. 4, 2011, by security forces in Lucena City where he was served an arrest warrant for rebellion that was issued by the Lucena RTC Branch 59.
Alcantara tried to escape but was wounded in a shoot-out.
Lawmen later recovered a grenade hand fragmentation MK2, nine blasting caps, time fuse, one .45-caliber colt, two magazines and 14 rounds of live ammunition from Alcantara, who failed to present documents for the items.
Quoting from the decision, the DOJ said the RTC ruled that “after a judicious perusal of the evidence adduced, the Court finds that the prosecution was able to establish all the elements of the crimes.”
“The corpus delicti is the accused’s lack of license or permit to possess or carry the firearm, as possession itself is not prohibited by law. To establish the corpus delicti, the prosecution has the burden of proving that the firearm exists and that the accused who owned or possessed it does not have the corresponding license or permit to possess or carry the same,” the DOJ added, citing the court’s decision.
But the rights group Karapatan, in a previous statement, said Alcantara has been swamped with several trumped-up charges, with the intent of making his court trials endless and his detention indefinite.
“All these, in violation of the Hernandez Doctrine, that prohibits the criminalizing of politically related charges, that should otherwise all have been consolidated under a rebellion case,” the group said.
The Hernandez-Enrile doctrine of the Supreme Court considers common crimes committed under rebellion, including “destruction of life and property,” as one offense.