Militant solon fears NPA retaliation; capture of GRP negotiators
The unabated arrest of National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants may prompt the New People’s Army (NPA) to retaliate and capture their counterparts in the government, a lawmaker warned on Saturday.
Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao raised the warning days after the arrest of NDF consultant Rafael “Ka Raffy” Baylosis over what activists called as “trumped-up” charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
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“If this will continue—‘yung mga arrest ng mga so-called temporarily released on bail na mga NDF consultants—aabot sa punto na yung NPA mag-declare din ng sige, aarestuhin din namin ang mga [Government of the Republic of the Philippines] negotiators and consultants,” Casilao said at Saturday Forum at Annabel’s Restaurant in Quezon City.
(If this will continue, the arrest of the so-called NDF consultants temporarily released on bail, it may come to a point that the NPA declare its own arrest of the GRP negotiators and consultants.)
“This will be a vicious cycle all over again, mauulit ito at wala nang katapusan (it will continue and will be endless),” he added.
Baylosis and his companion, Roque Guillermo Jr., were arrested on Wednesday afternoon by joint forces of Crime Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Regional (CIDG-NCR) and intelligence groups of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Authorities arrested the two along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City and supposedly recovered from them two .45-caliber guns, bullets, and magazines.
The police report on the operation stated that Baylosis and Guillermo had “visible short firearms tucked to their sides.”
The police initially filed illegal possession of firearms charges against the two and later charged them with illegal possession of explosives for the alleged hand grenade found inside the bag of brown rice Baylosis was carrying.
Baylosis’ lawyer, Rachel Pastores, called the authorities’ claims as a “bad script,” noting that the consultant is a known figure in the peace process and would not loiter around the streets of Metro Manila with a gun tucked to his side.
She also noted that there was a hallmark of perjury in the police’s story line and described the circumstances that surround his arrest as “incredible” and “unbelievable.”
Baylosis’ arrest came days after President Rodrigo Duterte warned that he would go after the “apparatus” and the so-called legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines and NPA.
Casilao called for the resumption of peace talks, noting that violence would not curb rebellion and armed resistance in the country.
“Matagal na po ‘yung sinasabi natin na (We’ve been calling for them to) address the problem of poverty, landlessness, social injustices and no amount of a military formula will really address it. It will only worsen and will only produce, bring an unending vicious cycle,” he said. /jpv
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