PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa on Monday, November 4, challenged the activists arrested in Bacolod City and Metro Manila to prove their innocence in court.
"Let them prove themselves in court if they say that these (evidence) are planted. Siguro naman kung ma-prove nila 'yan sa court, then necessarily the cases will be dismissed," Gamboa said when asked to react to the claim of activist groups that the firearms and other evidence recovered during the operation were all planted.
Over the weekend, simultaneous joint police-military operations in Barangays 33, Bata and Taculing in Bacolod City resulted in the arrest of at least 40 suspected Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army (NPA)- National Democratic Front (NDF) personalities.
Fourteen alleged “child warriors”, who were reported to have been recruited recently, were "rescued".
The operations stemmed from the issuance of four search warrants by Judge Cecilyn Burgos Villavert of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 89.
Recovered in the said operations were 32 assorted firearms, three hand grenades, two 40MM grenade launchers, assorted live ammunition and subversive documents and other paraphernalia.
The arrested persons are undergoing documentation and investigation while the "rescued" minors will be placed under the care of Department of Social Welfare and Development.
In Manila, police arrested Gabriela chairperson Cora Agovida and her partner Michael Bartolome for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and explosives.
Gamboa noted that planting of evidence is among the usual allegations thrown by the accused against the police.
"That's why the law provides na dapat may kasama kayong media, local government units who will witness the service of the search warrant to avert all of these allegations," he said.
Members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan conducted a picket in front of the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame to denounce the mass arrest which they said indicates that the PNP has escalated its use of search warrants in trying to cripple the activities of political dissenters and government critics.
The group maintained that the arrested personalities were not doing anything illegal when they were arrested.
They claimed that the arrested persons were told to leave the offices first prior to the conduct of search.
The CPP-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (SunStar Philippines)