The Philippine National Police has refused to take custody of New People’s Army leader Tirso Alcantara, alias Ka Bart, due to “constraints” at the PNP Custodial Center, reported an army representative who had been sent to the PNP to facilitate the transfer.
A court ordered Alcantara’s transfer from an Army detention facility to the PNP last week,
Army spokesman Maj. Harold Cabunoc said the Army sent a legal officer, Alex Alberto Popanes, to the center in Camp Crame as early as August 14 to coordinate the implementation of the order of a Gumaca, Quezon court which was received a day earlier.
However, Cabunoc said Popanes was told by PNP Custodial Center chief Supt. Cesar Magsino not to immediately execute the order “due to some constraints in his office” and that they are filing an opposition to the court’s order.
Cabunoc said the PNP told Popanes that there was a lack of a “suitable detention facility,” necessary resources and the security for court hearings for which the accused will be transported to Quezon and back.
“[T]heir custodial center is jam-packed [with detainees] and that they have problems on security matters [regarding keeping Alcantara]. They have a lot of concerns,” said Cabunoc.
With the development, Cabunoc said Alcantara remains detained at the Intelligence Security Group inside the Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio. He said the Army had been bringing Alcantara to courts to attend hearings.
Alcantara, the top NPA leader in Southern Tagalog, was arrested by the Army in January last year in Lucena City.The National Democratic Front had been calling for his release because he is a consultant to the ongoing peace process with the government.
Cabunoc said Alcantara has at least 30 pending cases, including multiple murder, arson, carnapping and robbery, in various courts in Misamis Oriental; Sta Cruz, Laguna; Gumaca, Quezon; Lucena City and Pasig City.
“The Army assures that Alcantara is treated fairly, receives health care, and in good health condition while inside the military detention facility,” said Cabunoc, adding that the Alcantara’s detenction facility had been even inspected by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
“We have no problem [transferring Alcantara to the PNP Custodial Center], especially if there is a court order. We were set to transfer him but when we coordinated [with the PNP], they said are not ready,” Cabunoc also said. — BM, GMA News