PNP to remain ready for any NPA attacks despite ongoing ceasefire

Maris Federez   •   December 26, 2019   •   370

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) continues to remind its force not to be complacent but to remain on guard for any attack by the New People’s Army (NPA) despite the ongoing unilateral ceasefire which started on Dec. 23 and will end on January 7.

This was prompted by the three attacks that the rebel group had launched against the police and the military in Camarines Norte, Iloilo and Quezon provinces.

PNP Directorate for Operations PMGen. Emmanuel Licup advised his men to always be ready to defend themselves.

“Pwede kang lumaban pero you don’t do it on an offensive manner; kung ambush pwede kang lumaban,” Licup said.

Meanwhile, the police force on Thursday (Dec. 26) joined the indignation rally staged by different entities in line with the 51st anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP).

“Itong mga riders organized ourselves na ipakita naman na we are supporting the effort of the civilian sector who want to support the national task force to Elcac (End Local Communist Armed Conflict),” Licup said.

Around 200 HPG riders from the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon, and CALABARZON joined the indignation rally that went on a convoy through Liwasang Bonifacio, Monumento Circle, UP Diliman, Baclaran and the EDSA Shrine.

In December 2018, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Executive Order 70 that mandates a whole nation approach to end the 50-year activities of the communist group. — (from  the report of Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

Palace condemns NPA violation of ceasefire amid COVID-19 truce

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 30, 2020

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

Malacañang has condemned the New People’s Army (NPA) for violating ceasefire amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) threat in the country.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reported a clash between the military and the NPA in Rodriguez, Rizal on Saturday (March 28). One soldier and one fighter of the NPA were reportedly killed during the encounter, while two more soldiers were injured.

“This armed attack by the NPA against our soldiers exposes the insincerity of the former in declaring a ceasefire as well as their blatant disregard of the welfare of the Filipino people they claim to fight for,” according to the statement of the Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

The Palace warned enemies of the state against violating the law.

“The constituted authorities are equipped and ready to repel any and all transgressions of law and crush any armed attack against our soldiers and civilians with ferocity and might,” Panelo said.

READ: Joma Sison concedes to UN’s call for a global ceasefire

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has ordered all commands and units of the New People’s Army (NPA) to observe a nationwide ceasefire with the government amid the growing COVID-19 threat.

The said truce began on March 26 and supposed to last until April 15.

The United Nations (UN) called for a global ceasefire on March 23 so the world can focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic. AAC

SC prohibits police from surveilling family of alleged NPA member

Robie de Guzman   •   February 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court has banned the Philippine National Police (PNP) from monitoring or surveiling the family of an alleged member of the New People’s Army (NPA) who was killed in San Jose, Antique in 2018.

The Supreme Court en banc, voting 8-5-1, granted the petition for review on certiorari filed by Vivian Sanchez assailing the 2018 decision of the San Jose Regional Trial Court (RTC) to deny her petition for writ of amparo.

In a 19-page ruling promulgated on October 15, 2019, the SC issued a permanent protection order prohibiting members of the PNP to monitor Sanchez and her children, and reminded respondent police officers to uphold the citizens’ rights, and conduct investigations according to their manuals.

In August 16, 2018, Sanchez learned that her estranged husband, Eldie Labinghisa, was among the seven alleged NPA members who were gunned down by the police in Barangay Atabay.

She said that when she first went to the funeral home to verify the news, she was unable to identify her husband’s body as police officers stationed there took her photos without her permission.

When she went back the next day, police allegedly threatened to arrest and charge her if she refused to answer their questions. She claimed that police officers even showed up at her house and tailed her even after confirming that the body was of Labinghisa.

The court also said that Sanchez’s 15-year old daughter categorically stated that police cars have frequently driven by their house.

On August 24, 2018, Sanchez filed a petition for writ of amparo before the San Jose RTC, alleging that the police officers’ constant surveillance of her and her family made them fear for their safety.

The RTC issued the writ of amparo and a temporary protection order but was later lifted after the judge found during summary hearing that she was unable to specify acts that threatened her security and liberty.

The lower court’s decision prompted her to bring the case to the Supreme Court.

In its ruling, the SC concluded that Sanchez did not merely imagine the threats against her and her family.

“The totality of obtaining circumstances likewise shows that Vivian and her children were the subject of surveillance because of their relationship with a suspected member of the New People’s Army, creating a real threat to their life, liberty or security,” the court said in a decision penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

The court considered Sanchez’s apprehension at being targeted as a suspected NPA member as palpable and understandable, causing her to “act suspiciously” as claimed by the respondent police officers, who subjected her to threats and accusations.

In deciding whether or not Sanchez was able to prove with substantial evidence her entitlement to the privilege of a writ of amparo, the SC found that the totality of her evidence undoubtedly showed that she became a person of interest after she had first visited the funeral home, where her photo was taken.

“Whether [Vivian]’s photo was actually posted and distributed at the police station or was just taken for future reference, the taking of the photo bolsters [Vivian]’s claims that she was being monitored by the police,” the court said.

“While pursuing rebels is a legitimate law enforcement objective, the zeal of our police must be bound by the fundamental rights of persons, especially the loved ones of persons in interest. After all, the values we have in our Constitution are what differentiate us from lawless elements,” the court further stated.

CPP-NDF receives copy of PH gov’t ceasefire order

Robie de Guzman   •   December 27, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The National Democratic Front (NDF), the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), said it has finally received copies of the documents stating the government’s orders for suspension of offensive military operations (SOMO) and the suspension of offensive police operations (SOPO).

Fidel Agcaoili, NDF peace panel chairman, confirmed they received the documents from Labor Secretary and government chief peace negotiator Silvestre Bello III on December 26.

“We hope that from here on the unilateral and reciprocal ceasefires declared by the two Parties shall proceed effectively,” Agcaoili said in a statement.

CPP founder and NDP chief political consultant Jose Maria “Joma” Sison earlier asked for the copies of the government’s written order for the state security troops to stand down in observance of the holiday ceasefire.

Both the government and the communist group declared a truce on Sunday for the holiday season.

President Rodrigo Duterte also ordered the reconstitution of the government’s negotiating panel for the possible resumption of peace talks with the communist rebels.

The holiday ceasefire took effect midnight of December 23 and will end on January 7, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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