From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 30, 2019): NPA has ‘no reason to celebrate’ after capture of Negros leaders
Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Murcia, Negros Occidental. (PNA Bacolod file photo)
BACOLOD CITY -- The top official of the Philippine Army in Negros Island said the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), has nothing to celebrate in its five decades of existence.
Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Murcia, Negros Occidental, said in a statement on Friday that the arrest of Francisco “Frank” Fernandez and Cleofe Lagtapon, the top two communist rebel leaders in Negros, does not give the rebels a reason to celebrate.
“There’s no reason to celebrate. Fifty years of killings, extortion and violence is never worth celebrating,” he added.
The NPA marked its 50th foundation anniversary on Friday, three months after the CPP also observed its 50th year last December 26.
“Once again, I urge the NPAs to rethink their situation because the CPP and the National Democratic Front (NDF) is just manipulating them for their selfish interests,” Arevalo said.
The CPP and its political wing, the NDF, are only sowing discontent and hatred against the government and the society, he added.
Arevalo again called on the NPA fighters in Negros, numbering between 200 and 300, to surrender to be able to lead normal lives together with their families and loved ones.
“We still extend our hand of reconciliation to those who want to have a second chance. Don’t wait until it’s too late,” he added.
Fernandez, 71, an NDF consultant, and his wife Lagtapon, 66, were arrested along with Ge-Ann Perez, 20, in a joint operation of the police and the military in Liliw, Laguna on March 24.
They are facing charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives, and violation of the election gun ban.
Fernandez himself had four warrants for murder and multiple murder when he was arrested. He is now under hospital arrest with Lagtapon in Luzon.