By Aaron Recuenco
Police have arrested three alleged leaders of militant groups in a continuing crackdown on organizations believed to have links with the outlawed New People’s Army (NPA).
Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, acting director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said the three were arrested in a raid at the office of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Tondo, Manila at around 1 a.m. on Tuesday.
He identified them as Ram Carlo Bautista, Alma Estrada Moran and Reina Mae Asis Nasino.
Police confiscated assorted firearms and ammunition that included a Bushmaster caliber 5.56 xm15-E26, two short magazines for cal. 5.56 mm, 45 pieces of live ammunition for caliber 5.56 mm, a colt MK4 Series 80 caliber-.45, a Colt automatic caliber-.45 and two hand grenades.
Also seized were several cellphones and laptops in the operation.
The group, however, condemned the arrest and said the items confiscated were planted similar to the raids in Negros Occidental and in Manila recently.
But Sinas denied the allegation and advised the arrested militant leaders to prove their claim.
“They could always claim it. But who would plant an M16 Bushmaster, do you know how much is that?” said Sinas.
“That is their alibi and so be it. Anyway our investigators are doing fine and we will be filing a case. Then, they could have it as defense in the court,” he added.
Last week, at least 59 people were arrested in Bacolod City, Escalante City and Manila during a series of raids on the offices of militant groups.
Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, spokesman of the Philippine National Police, said the series of arrests of militant leaders and members was but a proof that the rule of law and criminal justice system at work.
“The PNP performs its mandate to enforce the law following established procedures with utmost respect for human rights. We assure the public that the PNP remains alert and vigilant to prevent occurrence of crimes and ready to respond to any emergency, calamity and call for assistance,” said Banac.