ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Victor Ibrado nailed it when he banned (Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit and Special) Cafgus and Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade goons from escorting candidates in the May elections. For this vigilante group, escorting candidates can be their fund-raising source.
Now that they're disbarred from the escort service, they might have to look elsewhere for filling their collective coffers, if not their individual pockets.
Cafgus are authorized to carry firearms while in uniform and on duty, but they are disallowed from establishing checkpoints. That's according to Major General Vicente Porto, 3rd Infantry Division commander.
What was categorically unclear is if the ban covers the RPA-ABB thugs as well. After all, they are outside the AFP's chain of command. Not to mention the fact that their group remains illegal, and are NOT duly-constituted authorities.
The answer should be a no-brainer. But as lawyers would say, what is not disallowed is allowed. The RPA-ABB is banned from escorting candidates, but are they banned from manning checkpoints, especially their own checkpoints?
There were reports in 2004 that these armed goons established checkpoints in Silay and E.B. Magalona. They carried with them their high-powered weapons such as M-16s and M-14s. Why did then AFP chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. allowed an ILLEGAL armed organization to establish checkpoints in a legal democratic process is beyond me.
I can see northern Negros as a possible flashpoint. They claim the hinterlands as their "controlled areas." What they imply, however, is that these areas are not covered by the authority and sovereignty of the Republic of the Philippines.
Ergo, without categorically say it-since that would be a patent violation of their peace agreement with the Philippine State-they can organize checkpoints and inspect citizens.
That's why freely carry their high-powered firearms in barangay centers despite the expressed Comelec prohibition against guns.
Thus, I was pleasantly surprised that the PNP Escalante arrested RPA-ABB member Buenaventura de la Cruz, alias Tora when the ban started in January 10. Barangay Jonob-Jonob tanods ganged up on the drunken Tora who threatened a 47-year-old man with a pugakhang, a homemade shotgun.
Tora introduced himself as assistant team leader of an RPA-ABB unit in northern Negros led by Ka Nathan. As if being member of that organization is a license to flout the law.
Congratulations again to Chief Inspector Santiago Rapiz, Escalante police chief, for disabusing Tora of the notion that goons like him are beyond the pale of the law.
Ibrado ordered commanders of the 13 soldiers who were arrested for violation of gun ban nationwide to explain why they are ignorant of the provisions of Comelec Resolution 8714.
Well the AFP and the PNP ask RPA-ABB national commander Stephen Paduano aka Carapali Lualhati, and top RPM-P officers Veronica Tabara alias Inca and Ariel Sabandar alias Suk of their gross ignorance of Comelec Resolution 8714.
Why did it take the PNP Escalante police- and not one of their ilk- to arrest scumbags like Tora?
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