Strengthen legal offensives vs. NPA, law enforcers told

Local military and police commanders have been ordered to strengthen their legal offensives against leaders of the New People’s Army, following the release of several arrested rebel leaders in Negros after posting bail.

Col. Oscar Lactao, 303 rd Infantry Brigade commander, yesterday said there is need to re-visit their strategies in the conduct of legal offensives against key personalities of the NPA in Negros island.

Lactao also emphasized the importance of teamwork among military and police, that, he said, has already produced results, citing the checkpoints, that led to the arrest of two NPA leaders and the interception of armed red fighters, all in San Carlos City, in previous months.

Several top rebel leaders arrested in Negros Occidental, including Romeo Natan, regional commander of the NPA, Marilyn Badayos, Mary Grace Delicano-Sumayang, Nilda Natan Bertulano, Rogelio Danoso, Hernando Llorente, rejoined their comrades in the mountains, after their release from jail, military records also show.

They have been charged in court for robbery-in-band and arson, which are bailable offenses.

Lactao said key rebel personalities should be charged for non-bailable offenses, and not for crimes against property for which they can immediately post bail.

Sumayang, who replaced her husband, Armando, as secretary of the Kilusang Larangan South West, was among those charged for murder, in connection with the ambush of 2Lt. Jose Angelo Esguerra in Brgy. Tuyom, Cauayan, on March 6.

Military records show that more than P2 million have been spent by the CPP-NPA and their supporters to bail out their arrested rebel leaders in Negros island.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines accepts the decision of the court in granting bail to the two arrested NPA leaders and Lactao said this is line with the IPSP Bayanihan’s imperative for the rule of law.

Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta, 3rd Infantry Division commander, in a statement, he issued, said Negrenses should be aware of the repercussions of their release, adding that their temporary freedom will again give them the opportunity to commit atrocities against the people of Negros.* GPB

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