Friday, March 27, 2020

3 arrested rebels denied bail

From the Visayan Daily Star (Mar 27, 2020): 3 arrested rebels denied bail

Three persons, believed to be members of the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army- National Democratic Front in Negros, were denied bail, after being indicted for two counts of Qualified Trafficking in Persons by the Bacolod City Prosecutor’s Office, Army spokesman Capt. Cenon Pancito III said yesterday.

Pancito said respondents
Albert De la Cerna, Ma. Pilar Dela Cerna, and Karina Mae Dela Cerna were charged with violation of Section 4 in relation to Section 6 (Qualified Trafficking in Persons) of Republic Act 9208 as Amended by RA 10364, also known as the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012, after the Bacolod City Prosecutor’s Office, found probable cause citing a court information, issued and signed by Senior Assistant City Assistant Prosecutor Fernand Castro, that was approved by City Prosecutor officer-in-charge Dennis Jarder.

Castro said in the court information that respondents Albert, Pilar and Kara Mae dela Cerna conspiring and acting in concert, unlawfully and feloniously recruit, harbor and transport the six victims, with ages ranging from 12 to 17 years old, including also an 18-year-old, whose identities are being withheld, by way of deception, taking advantage of their vulnerability, and promising benefits for exploitative purpose of using them for armed conflict against the government.

There is reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed and that the accused are probably guilty, Castro said.

Pancito said the three respondents, who they believe are members of the CPP-NPA-NDF, are also facing separate criminal cases for illegal possessions of firearms and explosives.

He recalled that Albert and Karina Mae De la Cerna were among those individuals who were arrested by the joint forces of the PNP and AFP in Bacolod City in October 31 last year, where 32 firearms, 130 rounds ammunitions, and five explosives were seized, and 13 minors were rescued.

Pancito said that the rescued minors and their parents filed trafficking complaint before the Bacolod City Prosecutor’s Office against John Milton Lozande, Noli Rosales, Proseso Quitzon, and the three De la Cernas.

Based on the revelations of the victims the three were also accused of taking advantage of the minors’ vulnerability by deceitfully recruiting them to join illegal activities, such as taking up arms against the government.

He added that “with the development of this case, we are seeing the serious and united effort of the government has quell the CPP-NPA-NDF’s recruitment activities, particularly among the minors, Maj. Gen. Eric Vinoya, commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said in a statement, adding that “Very clearly, this is a violation of our laws and the International Humanitarian Law”.

“Let this serve as a warning to those who still continue to do recruitment activities for the CPP-NPA-NDF. The long arm of the law will eventually reach you, as we endeavor to protect our countrymen especially our youth, from the destructive nature of your ill-motivated armed struggle that leads to terrorism,” Vinoya added.

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