By Martin Sadongdong
After the apprehension of top Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) leader Vicente Ladlad, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will continue with its intelligence gathering to apprehend more communist commanders in a bid to end the country’s decades-long problem on communist insurgency.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said the arrest of Ladlad only proved that even the consultants of the left-leaning groups are armed so they must take precautionary measures in dealing with them.
Ladlad, according to police, serves as head of the National United Front Commission of CPP-Central Committee and a consultant to the previous peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the CPP-New People’s Army (NPA)-NDFP.
“We continue with our intelligence monitoring. We will not stop and we do not intend to stop with our target-hardening measures, case buildup and intelligence gathering against rebels or insurgents,” Albayalde stated.
“We have seized high-powered firearms from his possession. This goes to show that even consultants, they are armed,” he added.
Police and military found a Russia SKS AK-47 with magazine, an M16 assault rifle with magazines, a caliber 45 Colt MK, a caliber 9mm pistol, another caliber 45 gun, four hand grenades, electronic equipment and subversive documents during a raid in Novaliches, Quezon City on Thursday. Two alleged aides of Ladlad were also arrested in the operation.
However, this is contrary to the claims of Ladlad’s wife, Fides, who said her husband “cannot use a gun” due to his medical condition. Fides claimed that her husband has emphysema, a type of chronic pulmonary disease.
She also claimed that the firearms and explosives found in his husband’s care were “planted” by the police. This was denied by the PNP.
In a radio interview on Friday, Albayalde said Fides’ statement is a common alibi being used by suspects when they are being arrested. He insisted that the operation was covered by a search warrant issued by the court.
“That’s a usual alibi for them. No suspect would admit that they have committed a crime. Like what I have said, they should prove that in court but the operation was covered by a warrant and there are barangay officials who can prove that the police indeed recovered those items,” he said.
“Probably if we recovered only one grenade, we can have doubts but we found four explosives, two high-powered firearms, several short firearms and subversive documents,” he noted.
The PNP chief also said Ladlad’s arrest would also “strengthen” the localized peace talks being pursued by the government.
Albayalde said a case for violation of Republic Act 10591 or Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act was already filed against Ladlad and his two aides.