Lacson seeks protection for Aquino, others
Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Monday called on the military and the police to protect former President Benigno Aquino III and other officials reportedly ordered arrested and tried by the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), saying the order was illegal.
Aside from Aquino, the NDFP in Southern Mindanao announced during the weekend the indictment of North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista, North Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco and the military and police officials involved in the violent dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City on April 1, last year.
Three farmers were killed and 116 others were injured in the dispersal.
The NDFP has reportedly indicted Aquino for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“It is the responsibility of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, as well as all law-abiding citizens of this country, to protect former President Aquino and all those placed [on] the liquidation list of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), who, by any definition, are enemies of the state,” Lacson said in a statement.
Lacson said that a court of law was the “one duly constituted authority that can mete out any form of penalty against anybody found violating the laws of the land.”
“Anybody else is unauthorized and therefore illegal,” he said.
“[T]hey should be made criminally liable if and when they perform such a criminal act,” he added.
Malacañang gave assurance on Sunday that it would protect Aquino and the others named by the NDFP.
Gen. Eduardo Año, the AFP chief of staff, said on Monday that the military was assessing the NDFP statement to see if it was just propaganda or a genuine order.
Normally, Año said, it was the armed wing of the CPP, the NPA, that issued “arrest warrants” for people indicted by the communist rebels in their people’s court.
“As you may notice, the CPP-NPA is trying to generate issues and political stunts to generate public attention,” Año said.
The government and the NDFP are holding a fourth round of peace talks in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, to try to end the decades-long communist insurgency that has claimed more than 40,000 lives.
For Año, it is far-fetched for Aquino to be involved in the so-called Kidapawan massacre.
“But just the same, the NPA cannot discern what is legal or illegal and what is moral or not when it became a criminal group bent on extorting money, destroying property and killing civilians,” Año said. —WITH REPORTS FROM MAILA AGER AND NIKKO DIZON
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