Editorial: Looking for guns

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014


THE Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7 would actually have been remiss in its duty had it not searched the house rented by arrested Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leaders in Sitio Boloc-boloc, Barangay Sangat, San Fernando last Tuesday.

But it would have been wrong if it really expected to get the guns, ammunition or explosives, which were the subject of the search, in that house. While Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria were top leaders of an underground organization with an armed wing, they know better than to keep firearms and bullets in a house that is not within a zone of operation of the CPP’s New People’s Army (NPA).

If CIDG 7 elements were conscious of that, they would have included as target of the search computers and computer accessories, cell phones and underground documents.

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Benito, being allegedly the CPP chairman and Wilma, being allegedly the party secretary-general, are surely in possession of vital information about their organization.

CPP policy is clear on the matter of handling firearms. While it is using armed struggle as its main form of struggle, especially in the countryside, against the government, there are areas in the country where it operates legally. And the history of the arrests of CPP cadres shows they are strictly adhering to that legal mode of operation.

San Fernando is not part of an active guerilla zone as police and military officials assert. Rather, it is part of the Metro Cebu area, the province’s urban center. The Tiamzons were not expected to use guns to prevent their arrest there—that was proven in their reaction when accosted by a joint police-military team in Aloguinsan town.

While possession of firearms may help in keeping the Tiamzons in jail for some time, the more important effect of their arrest is to temporarily disturb the implementation of their organization’s plans and to give law enforcers a chance to gather more information about such plans. The latter effect would have been served had the search been also for equipment and materials where information is stored.

The point is, despite the existence of the CPP for more than four decades now, there is still some misunderstanding as to its nature and organization. One of the reasons for that is the insistence of some sectors on demonizing the rebel group through propaganda instead of objectively informing the public about how it really operates.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 27, 2014.

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