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PNP prepares for intel gathering; arrest of four former lawmakers

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By Martin Sadongdong

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is preparing for intelligence gathering and arrest of four former militant lawmakers who were issued with arrest warrants for murder, a ranking police official disclosed Sunday.

Philippine National Police Chief Director Oscar Albayalde (Kevin Tristan Espiritu / MANILA BULLETIN)

Philippine National Police Chief Director Oscar Albayalde (Kevin Tristan Espiritu / MANILA BULLETIN)

Chief Supt. Edmund Gonzales, head of the PNP Intelligence Group (IG), said they were still waiting for the copies of the arrest warrant for murder issued against Liza Maza, the current National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) secretary and a former representative of the Gabriela Women’s Party; Rafael Mariano, the former secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and representative of Anakpawis Party-list; and Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino, former representatives of the Bayan Muna Party-list.

“Wala pa namang direktang utos pero lahat naman iyan, may efforts tayo dyan. Sa ngayon, wala pang specific na directive (We have not received a direct order yet but we have efforts to do so. Right now, there’s no specific directive yet),” Gonzales told the Manila Bulletin in a phone interview.

Gonzales explained that once the warrant of arrest was received by the PNP through its chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde, that would be the only time they could work on the ex-lawmakers’ arrest.

“Siyempre, all effort naman tayo dyan pero sa ngayon wala pang utos (Of course, we will do our part but no order yet),” he added.

The warrants of arrest for murder dated July 11, 2018 was issued by Judge Evelyn Turla, presiding judge of the Palayan City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 40 in Nueva Ecija.

The murder cases filed in 2006 against Maza, Mariano, Ocampo and Casino stemmed from the claims that they were involved in the killing of three former supporters of Bayan Muna — Carlito Bayudang, Jimmy Peralta, and Danilo Felipe, who transferred to the rival group Akbayan Party-list.

However, lawyer Rachel Pastores, legal counsel of the accused, said the allegations are baseless and they will face the complaint against her clients.

In 2008, Turla reportedly ruled out there were no sufficient evidence in the allegations filed by the complainants, Isabelita Bayudang and Mayumi Peralta, widows of the victims.

Earlier, PNP chief stated that it would be for the best interest of the former lawmakers to surrender or they will have to implement the arrest warrants issued against them.

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