FINALLY, the military got him. Or them.
Elusive Fr. Frank Fernández, aka Ibarra, Kanor, Suilo and Ago, and his common-law wife Cleofe Lagtapon, were arrested in Laguna.
Fernández, who evaded capture for over four decades, and Lagtapon were tracked by military intelligence from Negros to Laguna, where they were arrested last week. The rebel leader will be charged in court for four counts of murder and attempted murder.
The couple’s last public appearance was in 2016. Long rumored to be ailing and later dead, Fernandez surfaced at a clandestine press conference looking well and fit.
He was asked then several questions from his rating of President Duterte, the peace talks and his health condition.
Fernández gave Duterte a rating of five for his performance in his first six months as president because of his anti-US statements and his program to get rid of contractualization.
Fernández frowned against the war on drugs through extrajudicial killings because only the poor are being subjected to anti-drug raids and operations.
As a top leader of a violent movement where people are killed without due process, he expressed his disagreement on the proposed restoration of the death penalty since major reforms have yet to be implemented in the country’s justice system.
Well, the couple will have their day in a court of law. It is presumed that due process will be followed where the accused are assumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
Indeed, “In law, a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics, he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so,” said philosopher Immanuel Kant.
None of the arrested rebel priests in Negros have been convicted in a court of law. I hope the state has done their homework in their case build-up of these criminal charges.
Otherwise, his case will get dismissed. A former man of God, his arrest will turn out to be his blessings as he could convert from a man of violence to a man of peace as the other priests have proven themselves.