Police and military operatives arrested a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and two others in a raid in Quezon City before dawn Thursday.
In a press briefing at the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) in Camp Bagong Diwa, PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde identified the suspects as Vicente Ladlad and his two companions, Alberto and Virginia Villamor.
Ladlad is also a member of the CPP-Central Committee and head of its National United Front Commission.
Albayalde also presented to the media high-powered firearms, ammunition and explosives confiscated from the possession of the three suspects.
Recovered from the raid were two assault rifles, two .45-caliber pistols, one .9mm-caliber pistol, hundreds of rounds of ammunition for said firearms, four hand grenades, electronic equipment, and subversive documents.
Albayalde said the raid was conducted by combined operatives from the NCRPO, QCPD, and CIDG, supported by elements of Joint Task Force-National Capital Region and the Philippine Army.
The raid is by virtue of a search warrant issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 89 Judge Cecilyn E. Burgos-Villavert against the three suspects for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.
He said the confidential information from concerned citizens about the suspicious activities of the suspects prompted police operatives to initiate a thorough investigation, operational research and case build-up.
Due process observed
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) head, Director Guillermo Eleazar said the suspects were properly informed of their rights.
They have undergone physical examination by the Quezon City Health District Service (QCHDS) before they were brought to Quezon City Police District (QCPD) for booking and other documentation procedures
“Mr. Ladlad is one of the NDF consultants who came out in the open during the peace talks but went underground after the collapse. He was also positively identified by the agents on the ground, a fact which was positively cross-referenced with some former rebels whom we had work with in the past who has already surrendered and working with the government,” Eleazar told reporters during the press briefing.
He said the suspects are now in the custody of NCRPO and will undergo the mandatory booking process as requirement for the procedural return of warrant to the court.
Eleazar said the three suspects will be charged for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.
Meanwhile, Ladlad’s wife, Fides, denied that his husband has firearms in his possession.
Fides, who was in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, where his husband is expected to be presented by the PNP chief went hysterical as she seeks to see his husband.
“Definitely but after the documentation. After the processing. It’s a search warrant. We have arrested him for the violation of the crime then we have to process,” Eleazar said when asked on whether Fides can see her husband.
Eleazar also shrugged off Fides’ claim denying that her husband has firearms in his possession.
“That is a common defense argument. But before the search was conducted, we called the barangay watchmen and the president of the homeowners’ association because that is a requirement before the search, and they certified that the search was conducted in an orderly manner so that’s why today, we presented the evidence,” the NCRPO chief said.
Reports showed that a concerned citizen informed authorities of suspicious persons in the area, particularly at Lot 16-A Block 3 Saint Mark St. corner Saint Joseph St., Doña Tomasa, Barangay San Bartolome, Novaliches, Quezon City.
Eleazar also explained that the information on the matter was verified with other intelligence units for them to be able to secure a search warrant from a court. (PNA/Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)