Gov't prepared for retaliation amid arrest of communist rebels: Esperon

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2018 01:31 AM

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon on Friday said the government is ready to face any retaliatory attacks from the communist New People's Army (NPA) in the wake of arrests of NDF-CPP-NPA leaders.

"When you arrest high-ranking leaders of the CPP-NPA, you expect some retaliation but we are ready for that anyway," Esperon told ABS-CBN News on the sidelines of the Manila Bulletin's 118th anniversary celebration at the Manila Hotel.

"Kung may security threat man, they are already there. The NPAs are doing what they have been doing burning construction equipment, burning small-scale factories even plantations, extorting from farmers. They've always been doing that," he added.

Esperon's remarks came two days after the Philippine National Police arrested Rafael Baylosis, a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, over charges of illegal possession for firearms and explosives.

On Thursday, the PNP also served arrest warrants on suspected CPP official Rommel Dorango Salinas in Ozamiz City for arson and frustrated murder charges.

Esperon denied that they are violating any agreement. 

Baylosis' lawyer, Rachel Pastores, said Friday that the government is violating the provisions of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), a pact between the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF which grants immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation to duly accredited persons involved in the peace process.

"All of them were out on bail because of their participation in the peace process. It was terminated, na-terminate na 'yan, binigyan ng sapat ng panahon upang magbalikan pero di bumabalik so we have to arrest them, if sighted," he explained.

Esperon also rejected Pastores' contention that only the Supreme Court can revoke Baylosis' bail. Pastores earlier cited an order of the Regional Trial Court of Manila denying prosecution's motion to cancel his bail.

"They do not have to use the Supreme Court to say that they could not be arrested. The fact is they were part of the advisers of the panel of consultants and so kailangang bumalik sila. 'Yun lang naman eh. Eh hindi sila bumabalik so we have to go out and arrest them, especially those who are involved in several cases," he said.

"One of them is the Inupakan mass grave, the murder cases in Inupakan and Rafael Baylosis happens to be one of them," he added.