No holiday truce with communist rebels, AFP says

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2020   •   724

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday said it will not recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte a ceasefire with the communist rebels this holiday season.

In a statement, AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said that many times in the past, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), have shown its “incapacity for sincerity” as they allegedly continue with their hostile acts despite the ceasefire declaration.

“This was the AFP’s painful experience where the communist terrorist group reneged from their own ceasefire declaration by attacking and killing soldiers on humanitarian and peace and development missions,” Arevalo said.

“During the incumbency of a truce, these terrorists continued their extortion activities and committed crimes of murder, arson, and the likes,” he added.

The military official said the communist rebels only venture on peace talks to “give themselves the chance to regroup, refurbish, recruit new members, and recoup their losses.”

Arevalo also claimed that Luis Jalandoni, a National Democratic Front negotiator, had supposedly declared that they push for peace negotiations not really to bring peace but to pursue armed struggle.

“And with these many hard lessons of the past, we will not allow them to trample upon our people’s bona fide desire for peace – not this holiday season – not until we have decisively defeated this menace to society,” he added.

Arevalo, however, said that the AFP would support the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte despite their position on the matter.

Last year, the government and the CPP-NPA both declared a truce during the holiday season, from December 23, 2019 to January 7, 2020.

DOJ issues hold departure order vs nine cops in Jolo shooting

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a hold departure order against the nine policemen involved in the shooting of four army personnel in Jolo, Sulu.

In a statement, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra has ordered prosecutors to file a motion in the court for a hold departure order against the policemen accused of killing the four army personnel in Jolo, Sulu last June 2020.

The order was issued after the Philippine National Police (PNP) released the said cops after being dismissed from service.

“The DOJ prosecutors filed the criminal information against the 9 police officers last January 4. The court was supposed to issue the warrants of arrest thereafter, but apparently failed to do so because of the current lockdown in Sulu,” he said.

Guevarra, meanwhile, hopes the accused would voluntarily turn themselves in once the warrants are issued.

“We hope that the 9 accused will voluntarily turn themselves in when such warrants are eventually released by the court. Otherwise, law enforcement agents will look for them and take them into custody,” Guevarra said. -AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

AFP dismayed over the release of nine cops involved in Jolo shooting

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines has expressed dismay after the Philippine National Police released the nine cops involved in the shooting of four army men in Jolo, Sulu.

In a statement, AFP Spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said that AFP Chief General Gilbert Gapay lamented the decision to release the involved cops and the lack of arrest warrants despite the charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“It is only unfortunate that despite the DOJ’s filing online of a multiple murder case before the Regional Trial Court in Jolo last 04 January 2021, no Warrants of Arrest have been issued by the court,” he said.

The nine cops are facing multiple murder charges in the Regional Trial Court in Jolo after the DOJ found probable cause for an indictment.

On Monday (January 11), PNP Chief Police General Debold Sinas announced that they have turned over the nine cops to the lawyers and their relatives since the national police no longer have the authority to detain them. Sinas also announced that the nine cops had been dismissed from police service.

Na-release na kasi walang warrant of arrest na binigay samin. We have coordinated with the DOJ at saka sa lahat hanggang ngayon wala po. So, ayaw po namin na ma charge kami ng arbitrary detention at tsaka pinirmahan ko pong dismissal ay implementable na po iyon. We turn them over to their relatives and lawyers (They have been released because there is no warrant of arrest. We have coordinated with the DOJ and until now, now warrant was issued. So we don’t want to be charged with arbitrary detention and I already signed the dismissal, it is already implementable. We turn them over to their relatives and lawyers), Sinas said. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

PNP seizes alleged NPA arms cache in Palawan

Robie de Guzman   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Joint operations conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yielded the recovery of an alleged New People’s Army (NPA) weapons cache in northern Palawan.

In a statement on Tuesday, PNP chief Police General Debold Sinas said troops from the PNP-Special Action Force’s (SAF) 101st Special Action Company, Police Regional Office 4B (PRO4B) and the military recovered high-powered firearms and war materials in the area of Sitio Lanka, Barangay Bintuan in Coron, Palawan around 4 a.m. on Saturday, January 9.

Among those seized were two M-16 assault rifles, four rifle grenades, magazine assemblies, a bandolier and 184 rounds of M-16 ammunition.

Sinas said the operation stemmed from actionable intelligence gathered by government troops regarding the whereabouts of the NPA’s cache of firearms and war materials in the said area.

“The continuous operations of our troops have resulted to the NPA’s weakened state. The latest confiscation of this cache of high-powered firearms further incapacitates their key operatives,” Sinas said.

The PNP chief  also commended the SAF in its successive efforts implementing the President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70, which aims to end local communist armed conflict.

The rifles will be subjected to procedural ballistics examination to determine if these had been used in previous crime incidents, the PNP said.

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