By Francis Wakefield
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo on Friday said that the arrest of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace talks consultant Rey Casambre and his wife in Bacoor, Cavite, is another setback for the communist side.
In an interview, Arevalo said it’s only right for the 67-year-old Casambre, his wife Patricia, 65, and other NDF consultants to be apprehended especially if they have warrants for their arrest.
He added that unless they are still covered by appropriate authority, they would have to be apprehended.
“Kung ‘yan ay consultant na pinagbigyan lamang ng [If the consultant is only granted with] temporary liberty on account of the consultations that needed to be done para sa [for the] peace negotiations, eh ngayong tinapos na ng ating pamahalaan ang negosasyon sa kanila [now that government has ended its negotiations with them] there’s no reason for them to continue with their contrary liberty,” Arevalo said.
“Kasi [Because] the reason for their being outside incarceration or liberty is dahil doon sa [is that the] peace negotiations. Eh wala naman na ngayon [Its already gone] so they have to return and submit themselves to the authority of the courts,” he added.
Earlier, Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) director Chief Supt. Amador Corpus, said Casambre and his wife were apprehended by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG-NCR, CIDG-4A), Cavite Provincial Police Office (PPO), Philippine Army (PA), Philippine Air Force (PAF) and Intelligence Section of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).
Casambre was also tagged by the PNP as the secretary of the National Education Department of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) while rights group Karapatan-Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights said he is an executive director for the Philippine Peace Center.
Corpus said Casambre has warrants of arrest for murder and two counts of attempted murder dated November 23, 2018 which were issued by presiding judge Emilio Dayanghirang III of Regional Trial Court, 11th Judicial Region, Branch 32 in Lupon, Davao Oriental.
According to initial investigation, the couple was on board a silver Toyota Vios bearing plate number XKS 821 when the arresting team collared them through “Oplan Pagtugis” and “Paglalansag Omega” in Barangay Niyog 3, Molino Boulevard, Bacoor, Cavite at 12:10 a.m.
When the arrest warrants were served, Corpus said authorities found from the couple’s possession a caliber .45 pistol, a bundle of electric detonating cord, various ammunition, a fragmentation grenade, two cellphones, a laptop and P6,000 in cash.
The couple was brought to the CIDG-NCR headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City for documentation and proper disposition.
Corpus said additional charges are being prepared against the couple.
However, he clarified that Casambre’s arrest was the result of the implementation of the arrest warrant against him, and not about his position as a consultant for the NDFP.