Nabbed rebels face more charges
The police filed Monday additional charges for violation of the Comelec gun ban on two counts each before the Kabankalan Regional Trial Court against arrested rebel leader Reniel Cellon and his wife, Mary Jane Magquilat, Senior Inspector Joshua Villasis said yesterday. Villasis, who led the team that arrested Cellon, his wife, and four others at a checkpoint Friday last week, in Brgy. Dancalan, Ilog, also said similar charges were also filed against their four companions identified as Jose Sonny Boy Ditomal, 41; Rodrigo Maricasa, 49; Antonio Estaniel, 51; and Edson Gonzales, 20.
Police records show that a .45 caliber pistol, traced by the military to have been owned by the slain PFC John Ilisan and a fragmentation grenade, were recovered from Cellon, while a Walther caliber .22 pistol was seized from Magquilat. A rifle grenade, hundreds of live ammunition for a M-16 armalite rifle and carbine, subversive documents and assorted foodstuff were also discovered in the Suzuki Carry vehicle, that Cellon and his companions were riding.
Villasis, who is the Ilog police chief, said the Kabankalan RTC has recommended P12,000 as bail for each count of violation of the Comelec gun ban. Aside from the gun ban charges, Cellon and Magquilat are also facing murder charges, which are non-bailable offenses, and frustrated murder, he added. If Ditomal, Maricasa, Estaniel and Gonzales are not able to post bail today, Villasis said he will facilitate their transfer to the Negros Occidental Provincial District Jail in Bago City. Cellon, commander of the Sentro De Grabida Platoon of the NPA South West Front Committee, was linked by the military to numerous incidents of liquidation in southern Negros, with Ilisan, former rebels and paramilitary troopers as victims.
Col. Jon Aying, 303 rd Infantry Brigade commander, said the arrest of Cellon may reduce the incidence of violence and increase the chances of a secure, free and honest May 13 election in Negros. Aying said copies of extortion letters recovered from the arrested rebel suspects also indicated an increase by three percent in their demands from private individuals. The Apolinario “Boy” Gatmaitan Command of the NPA had earlier issued a statement claiming that they are not requiring campaign fees from candidates, who enter their so-called territories.
Aying, however, said the NPA still continues with its extortion activities, and that the rebel group will connect it to revolutionary taxes. In fact, he added, they have a list of those who have complied with the demands of the rebel group. * GPB
Residents protest physical arrest in NE Atlanta
ATLANTA – Police said angry residents threw bricks and hammers at officers in a northeast Atlanta neighborhood on Tuesday. Neighbors in an apartment complex on Hardee Street became upset over an arrest that got physical on Monday. “About 13, 14 police cars, just started beating him, beating him in the face, trying to break his leg, spraying him with mace, hitting him with a stick, and they just did him all wrong and he ain’t did nothing,” said Anthony Jenkins.
Cell phone video shot by “CopWatch,” a police watchdog group, shows officers trying to restrain a man and take him into custody. In the video, the man is seen resisting the arrest and swinging at officers. Police then responded with pepper spray and their batons. On Tuesday, Atlanta police say there were bricks and hammers thrown at their police cruisers when they responded to reports of a gathering at the same apartment complex. “They backed out of the area. There must have been maybe 50 people and not that many officers. They basically retreated, not to escalate the situation and for their own safety and everybody else’s,” said Sgt. Greg Lyon of the Atlanta Police Department. Residents say they were protesting Monday’s arrest.
One person has now been taken into custody in the unrest and more charges are expected. Police say they are launching an investigation into the incident. “They are going to start an investigation to determine what exactly happened out there, but no formal complaint was brought to the department about the officer’s actions yesterday, but we’re just learning of that and we’re going to start an investigation on that as well,” Lyon said. Authorities are attempting to gather as much video of the incident as they can in order to view the confrontation from different angles.
Police break down doors to arrest gold mine protesters
Residents of Ierissos, a village in northern Greece, have accused police of illegally breaking down doors and violently entering the homes of two locals and arresting them over their alleged involvement in a February arson attack at the nearby gold mine installations.
Police, however, said they had arrest warrants and only used force to enter the homes when residents refused to let them in. The arrests at 3am on Wednesday spurred angry residents to attack a local police station. Police said no officers were in the police station at the time of the attack. Locals fiercely oppose plans to develop the mine by Vancouver, Canada-based Eldorado Gold Corp and argue that the venture will harm the economy in Greece’s northern Halkidiki peninsula which relies heavily on farming and tourism.
The two people arrested by police are scheduled to meet with the public prosecutor. According to their lawyer, the 3am arrests were unjustified. The opposition to Eldorado Gold Corp’s $500 million project to develop the site is visible from the heavy equipment that has been torched and the barbed wire fence that now cordons the mountaintop site. A February 20 attack caused extensive damage.
Some 40 masked intruders broke into the gold mine and torched machinery and vehicles being used to construct the open pit mine. Residents have reported that the police made extensive use of teargas in Ierissos, firing it in front of a school while it was in operation. A number of children were affected by the gas, a former mayor for the area said. Michalis Vlachopoulos also told Skai TV that one student suffered a head injury.
Appearing on the same television station, a police spokesperson denied that teargas was fired into the school and said that it was used only to remove a blockade that residents had erected at the entrance of the village to prevent riot police from entering. He said the riot were police sent to assist colleagues who were carrying out a preliminary investigation into the arson attack.