By Alex San Juan
The Department of Interior and Local Government has lauded the police and army forces with the recent arrest of National Democratic Front consultant Vicente Ladlad, adding that his apprehension only proves that “no one is above the law.”
“Kapag ikaw ay nagkamali, it is imperative that the laws of the land be imposed as it was deemed so. He and his cohorts, were found to be in possession of high-caliber firearms which is clearly in violation of the law,” DILG Chief Eduardo Año said.
He pointed out that Ladlad’s arrest only proved that whatever your status is in the society, no one is still above the law.
“Kahit sino man pong indibidwal na mahulihan ng ganitong kataas na kalibre ng mga baril at napatunayang lumabag sa batas ay huhulihin at mapaparusahan,” he added.
Año also congratulated the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for their hard work and vigilance leading to the significant arrest.
Ladlad was arrested along with two elderly couple for illegal possession of firearms after authorities recovered high-caliber firearms, grenades, ammunition and some “subversive documents,” at their alleged safehouse in Novaliches, Quezon City on Thursday.
Police said that the operation stemmed from a tip of a concerned citizen of “suspicious persons” at a house where Ladlad was currently staying, prompting lawmen to implement a search warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 89 of the National Capital Judicial Region.
“We are not at all shocked of his possession of high-caliber firearms. Kung titingnan mo ang background ng mga ito, you will see that they have been working to oust the government and our democratic way of life,” Año explained.
The DILG chief said the peace consultant’s arrest demonstrates a classic case of “a wolf in a sheep’s clothing” as he accused Ladlad to be pretending as advocate of peace but “took up arms against the government and espoused violence.”
He added that prior to this arrest, Ladlad has constantly eluded being taken into police custody by jumping bail despite the 15 counts of murder cases filed before Branch 32 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila.
“Finally, the long arm of the law has caught Mr. Ladlad. He has been avoiding incarceration by claiming that he is a ‘peace consultant’ and a JASIG-protected person,” he said.
JASIG or the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees is a peace agreement between the government and the NDFP negotiating panel which gives immunity to peace consultants from being arrested and keep from other harassment and attacks.
Prior to the arrest of Ladlad, two other peace consultants, Rafael Baylosis and Adelberto Silva, were also arrested in separate incidents since the termination of the peace talks between the government and the NDFP, which is the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“Tinitiyak po namin sa ating mga kababayan na ang mga nasakoteng mga indibidwal ay sasailalim sa patas na pagsisiyasat sa ilalim ng ating Saligang Batas, gaya ng sinumang mamamayan,” he concluded.