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11 rebels face arson raps

ARSON charges were filed Thursday at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office against 11 suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels for the alleged burning of a farm tractor in Hda. Teresa, EB Magalona town, last June 14, 2011.
Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Noppo) Director Allan Guisihan said the complaint was filed by Senior Fire Officer 1 Edwin Arriola of the EB Magalona Fire Station, based on the affidavits of two witnesses who were former members of the NPA and who surrendered last October 2011 to Captain Joel Delmendo of the Philippine Army’s 62nd IB based in Sagay City.
Charged were Hernando Llorente Jr. aka “Ka Odoy”, Arlo Vargas aka “Blas Poloy”, Rogelio Posadas alias “Poten”, Charity Amacan-Villar alias “Lumen/Nelia”, Benhur Perez, Justiana Palay aka “Caloy”, “Koling/Alba”, “Jamil”, “Chedenga”, “Jay” and “Mark”, all still at large.
Guisihan said the suspects are members of the North Negros Front (NNF), Kometing Rehiyon Negros which operates in Calatrava, Toboso, Escalante and other parts of Negros Occidental.
In his complaint, Arriola said at 6:40 p.m. last June 14, 2011 at Hacienda Teresa, Barangay Alicante, EB Magalona, Negros Occidental, the accused “did then and there willfully, maliciously, deliberately and intentionally burned down one unit tractor (KUBOTA 7500) using gasoline with estimated damage of P54,000 more or less.”
In their joint affidavit, witnesses Alejandro Barredo and Jomar Marcelino, who both claimed to be former NPA members, stated that it was their squad named “Barako” headed by Llorente was tasked to set fire the tractor.
Both also said that at about 6:40 p.m., their group arrived at Hda. Teresa where they divided into three groups and immediately assaulted the farm.
The first group was tasked to burn the tractor, the second group to take control of the hacienda office and the third, which is their group, was tasked to guard the gates.
They said Llorente’s group seized the M16 rifle and bandolier consisting of seven magazines with ammunitions from Mario Lachica, a security guard at the farm, while the other group torched the tractor.
Both further claimed in their affidavit that, before their group left the place, Llorente allegedly fired his M16 rifle, hitting an off-duty security guard identified as Christopher Herza.
After ten minutes, they immediately withdraw on board a multi-cab getaway vehicle towards Barangay E. Lopez in Silay City.
Guisihan said the suspects ransacked Hcda. Theresa and burned the tractor after the land owner refused to pay revolutionary tax. He added they are still conducting further investigation on the continued extortions activity of the NPA in Negros Occidental.
Meanwhile, 303rd Infantry Brigade Commander Colonel Oscar Lactao said the filing of charges against the suspects only shows the government’s efforts to make accountable persons who violate the law.
He said one of those charged is an NPA sympathizer who assisted the suspects in the commission of the crime.
“This is a warning to the NPA supporters who assist the NPA commit crimes that they will be included in the charges,” Lactao said.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 20, 2012.
Friday, January 20, 2012


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