PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde yesterday maintained that Communist Party of the Philippines ranking leader Vicente Ladlad’s arrest was legal and anchored on the fact that he and his fellows were caught in possession of a cache of high-powered weapons and explosives in their Quezon City safehouse last week.
“We reiterate that the arrest of Communist Party of the Philippines Central Committee Member and Head of its National United Front Commission Vicente Ladlad is for violation of Republic Act 10591or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition,” the PNP chief said.
According to him, the confiscation of high-powered firearms and explosives in the possession of Ladlad and two others is a result of a lawful search made by the police witnessed and certified by officials of the Homeowners Association.
“As to the reported apology of Mrs. Fides Lim-Ladlad, I understand her deep concern for the wellbeing of her husband and as a Christian I am inclined to graciously accept her apology. However, I must reiterate we are a nation of laws not of men. And violation of laws has its consequences,” he said.
“Rest assured we are conscientious in observing our mandate to serve and protect, as well as to uphold human rights and dignity of the accused. For our country to achieve lasting peace, progress, and prosperity, we all need to work together. We once again call on the public to observe the rule the law in our every day lives. The PNP thus enjoins all parties to seek redress in the proper forum, a right all citizens enjoy under our Constitution. We reiterate our mandate to serve and protect every Filipino, regardless of their political beliefs,” Gen. Albayalde added.
The PNP chief earlier brushed off suggestions that Ladlad was arrested because of his political views. He clarified that Ladlad was arrested because he was violating the law.
“There was a blatant violation of the law on his part, thus his arrest,” said the PNP chief who marked his 55th birthday last Thursday, the same day Ladlad and two others were arrested inside a suspected rebel safehouse in Novaliches, Quezon City which yielded a cache of automatic rifles, pistols, grenades and dozens of live ammunition.
National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said that Ladlad was among the NDFP consultants who surfaced during the peace talks but went back to hiding after the talks collapsed.
He maintained that the raid stemmed from reports of concerned citizens on the suspicious presence of the suspects in the area. Eleazar also denied claims by the camp of the suspects and their supporters that the guns, ammunition and explosives seized in Novaliches were merely ‘planted’ by officers.
“Lagi namang ganoon iyong depensa nila” he said while making it clear that local officials were present during the raid and have even certified that the search was conducted in an “orderly manner.”
Apart from Ladlad alias ‘Eduardo M. Reyes’, ‘Boss Ed’, ‘General Reyes’, who was tagged as a member of the CPP Central Committee and head of its National United Front Commission, also arrested during the operation in Q.C. were Antonio M. de Jesus alias ‘Kuya Tony’ and one alias ‘Ate Anna.’
After an extensive surveillance, operational research and case build-up, to prove the veracity of the report, Eleazar said that the QCPD headed by Chief Superintendent Joselito T. Esquivel Jr. applied for a search warrant before the office of Judge Burgos-Villavert.
Apart from the arrested suspects, police also seized one Russia SKS or AK-47 with bayonet one Elisco M16A1 assault rifle with defaced serial number; two cal. .45 pistols; one 9mm pistol; assorted magazines and bullets; and four hand grenades.