POLICE said two persons, including a consultant to the communist National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), were killed in a shootout during a joint law enforcement operation in Pavia, Iloilo on May 28, 2021.
Killed were Reynaldo Bocala, alleged head of the regional finance bureau of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay (KR-P), and his companion Welly Epago Arguelles.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Guillermo Eleazar said they had engaged authorities in a gunfight during the service of arrest warrants in Providence Subdivision in Barangay Balabag.
Warrants were issued for the arrest of Bocala for the crimes of robbery in band with frustrated homicide, robbery with serious physical injuries, destructive arson and murder.
Bocala was the husband of Maria Concepcion "Concha" Araneta, deputy secretary of KR-P.
Eleazar said authorities confiscated two .45 pistols, one laptop computer and five cellular phones.
Rights group Karapatan has called for an independent probe on the incident, claiming that Bocala should still be under the protection of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees as an NDFP consultant.
Eleazar said the PNP welcomes any investigation on the incident.
“If they want an independent probe, so be it. Bukas po ang PNP doon. Pero gaya ng sa ibang kaso, papasok ang Internal Affairs Service dito para magsagawa ng motu proprio investigation upang alamin kung may pagkukulang ang mga operatiba kaya humantong sa pagkamatay ng suspek,” Eleazar said.
“With the termination of peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF, this Jasig can no longer be invoked. This guarantee of immunity from arrest is an act of good faith and confidence-building measure in the peace negotiations between the government and the CPP/NPA/NDF,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)