By Agence France-Presse
MANILA — Police and military operatives on Wednesday night arrested another National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant and his companion during a raid in Imus, Cavite.
In a press briefing on Thursday at the Southern Police District in Taguig City, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) head, Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said Renante Gamara, NDFP peace consultant for the National Capital Region and retired priest Arturo Joseph Balagat were arrested in Gen. Bautista St., Poblacion II-A in Imus, Cavite.
Armed with a search warrant, the Regional Special Operations Unit of the NCRPO, Philippine Army and intelligence agents nabbed and brought the two men to Camp General Pantaleon Garcia in Imus, Cavite.
Gamara is a member of the central committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army (NPA), authorities said.
Recovered during the raid were a cal. 9mm pistol with magazine, two hand grenades, several electronic devices and gadgets containing subversive information, several subversive documents and cash amounting to PHP90,000.
In 2012, Gamara was apprehended in Las Piñas City by virtue of two warrants of arrest — one for kidnapping with murder of a soldier in Quezon and the other for frustrated murder.
He was among the 21 NDF consultants who were temporarily released to take part in the peace talks between the government and communist leaders in Oslo, Norway in 2016.
Eleazar said Gamara went into hiding after President Rodrigo Duterte terminated the peace talks on Nov. 23, 2017 and subsequently ordered that they be rearrested.
Gamara will be facing charges for violation of Republic Act 10915 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 and RA 9516 or illegal possession of explosives and violation of the Omnibus Election Code which will be filed before the Department of Justice.
Balagat, on the other hand, will remain under the custody of NCRPO for further investigation.
Gamara’s arrest brings to four the number of NDFP peace consultants behind bars.
Adelberto Silva, Vicente Ladlad, and Rey Claro Casambre were arrested in succession late last year after repeated attempts to revive the stalled peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP failed.
Rafael Baylosis was first arrested in January 2019 but was eventually released last January 18 after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court threw out the charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives earlier filed against him.
Twelve days later, NDFP peace consultant Randy Felix Malayao was killed inside a bus in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya last January 30.