By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – Criminal complaints were filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-6 on Monday before the City Prosecutor’s Office against more than 40 members of some militant groups who were arrested in series of raids here last week.
Captain Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID), said yesterday that the charges include illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and illegal possession of explosives.
The inquest proceedings conducted by Fiscal Fernand A. Castro was held at the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo) headquarters here around 2:30 p.m. due to security reasons since the arrested suspects were also suspected to be part of the New People’s Army (NPA), Pancito said.
Based on records from the Army, all 42 persons were accused of violating Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act): Albert Dela Cerna, National Federation of Sugar Workers (NSFW) secretary-general John Milton Lozande, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) secretary-general Noly Rosales, Proceso Quiatzon, Mario Estrobo Aguelan Jr., and Richard Sajo, Richre Paparon Remada, Geovanie Pollentes Morad, Mark Anthony Tagaytayan Olaera, Ernie Rebias Escoltor, Joey Plaza Micmic, Jessie Ryan Hecita Doza, Charlie Alintoson Lozada, Ernesto Judiadan Dodoyco Jr., Randy Domadiego Agbones, Junelle Jusal Miraflor, Gerry Magbanua Lacson, Marlito Apunan Escaner, Eddie Fernandez Ibon, Joedelmar Anfory Tano, Jecards Austero Jamero;
Jemar Rojo Santellan, Ashly Mark Sanong Antes, Jefherdy Gewon Alipoton, Richard Mag-aso Escada, Rolando Bilches Delos Reyes, John Carlo Larbo Capanas, Glanie Guimbal Hambre, Mario Ayo Tambiga, Joebert Lozada Belarmino, Ramil Gonzales Ayco, Jefherd Genon Alipoon, Joelito Telebrico Sumaque, Esmael Asplico Lorca, Jessie Taasan Badonasa, Cherryl Catalogo, Karina Mae Dela Cerna, Mermalyn Bito-on, Romulo Bito-on, Mary Anne Krueger, Danilo Tabura, and Roberto Lachica.
Except Mary Anne Krueger, the same set of suspects were also charged for illegal possession of explosives.
These suspects were arrested at KMU and Gabriela-Negros offices at Barangay Bata, NFSW office at Barangay 33, and a house at Barangay Taculing through the implementation of search warrants issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Quezon City.
A total of 32 firearms, three fragmentation grenades, two 40MM grenade launcher and assorted live ammunition were confiscated inside the said premises.
Of the 42 persons, 13 of whom were minors, who were rescued by authorities after they were allegedly recruited by some militant members to be part of the armed struggle by encouraging them to join cultural shows here.
Pancito said the arrested suspects are still under the custody of Nocppo.
Meanwhile, Pancito said that charges for qualified human trafficking will also be filed against alleged militant leaders – Albert Dela Cerna, John Milton Lozande, Noly Lacera Rosales, Proceso Quiatzon, Karina Mae Dela Cerna, and Cherryl Catalogo.
Moreover, same charges were also filed yesterday against Maria Lindy Balaobao Perucho, deputy secretary for finance of Komiteng Rehiyon – Negros, Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor (KR-NCBS), and Imelda Pasinabo Sultan, deputy secretary for finance of the same group who were arrested in simultaneous raids at Barangay Jonob-Jonob and Barangay Balintawak in Escalante City, Negros Occidental respectively.
Authorities recovered from Perucho a .45 caliber with ammunition, .38 caliber, and three 40MM grenade launcher ammunition while confiscated from Sultan were three .45 caliber with 17 live ammunition, seven grenade launcher ammunition, two claymore type, and subversive documents.
For his part, Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), said that the NPA should expect retaliation from the Army for the people.
“Matagal na tayong niloloko at napatunayan na nililinlang nila ang taong bayan sa pag gamit ng mga kabataan para sa kanilang masamang hangarin,” he said.
“Kami po ang reresbak para sa taong bayan,” he added.
“This shows that the people should support the government and not the armed struggle,” he said.