Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Piles of charges to be filed vs nabbed top ranking CPP-NPA leader in Palawan

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 11): Piles of charges to be filed vs nabbed top ranking CPP-NPA leader in Palawan

The Palawan Police Provincial Office (PPO) is set to file charges after charges against arrested top ranking leftist leader Sonny Gonzales and wife Alma Moreno, S/Supt. David Martinez announced in a media conference Tuesday morning.

At the conference held at the PPO headquarters in Barangay Tiniguiban, Martinez, the head of the provincial police force, said five warrants of arrest for murder, robbery, arson and others were served to Gonzales, who goes by the aliases Gilbert Silagan, Ka Glenn and Ka Marlon, shortly after he was nabbed in Barangay Inogbong, Bataraza early Sunday morning.

Warrants had been served too, to his wife Moreno, who goes by the alias Ka Carol, for murder and attempted murder staged when both were still in hiding from military and police authorities, who were looking for them for more than 13 years in the jungles of Palawan.

Around 20 cases, the provincial police chief said, will be filed against the husband and wife rebel tandem, who are now under tight security watch at the PPO.

The media conference did not present the captured rebel couples. Martinez explained Gonzales requested them to forego this, saying they did not want to reply to any queries. He also did not say when they will bring both to court for the filing of charges.

Meanwhile, Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez, who was also present at the media conference, called on the remaining members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) not to be scared "to lay down their arms" because the provincial government is willing to help them renew their faith in the government and provide them with livelihood to begin life anew.

He followed this invitation with an announcement that the provincial government is preparing for the P3-billion Arms-to-Farms Program to help those who will choose to surrender and pledge allegiance to the Philippine Constitution in Palawan.

The amount, he said, will be provided as grants to help rebel returnees, their families, and the community, where they will choose to live new lives, by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Palawan governor said the amount is now deposited at Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) for implementation.

Asked if Gonzales and Moreno can qualify under the said program, Alvarez clarified that if rebel returnees have to answer for any law violation in court, they will not qualify. However, their families will be assisted by the program. The same policy will also apply to other rebels who will surrender.

Surrendering is important to qualify to the Arms-to-Farm Program, as well as documents that would prove they are indeed rebels. In this case, the help of military and police authorities will be needed to verify identities.

Following the announcement, Alvarez lauded the PPO, military and other authorities involved in the capture of Gonzales and Moreno, who are highly believed to be behind a series of atrocities in the northern and southern parts of the province, such as collection of revolutionary taxes from mining companies and other local businesses, burning of heavy road equipments, raid on pearl farms, and roadside ambushes since 2000.

Alvarez said "peace and security" are two things important to the development of the province, particularly in ensuring that it continues in the coming years. Without peace, he said, there can be no true development as people would always live in hesitation knowing there are people who can pose risk to their lives.

Western Command commander Gen. Roy Deveraturda, who was also present at the press conference, also called on the rebels to surrender now, and help the local government in the development of Palawan.

He said now is no longer the time to fight for a cause that is no longer existing, especially in Palawan, where the provincial government is sincere in helping them.


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