The Philippine Army leadership has backed the call for Congress to look into the possible legislation of a special law for organized crime groups, including the New People’s Army.
Military records show that more than 10 top leaders of the NPA in Negros island alone, who were arrested for various crimes, have rejoined the rebel movement, after posting bail, which led to their release from jail.
Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, commanding general of the Philippine Army, said “hopefully, we have a special law for them”, apparently referring to the NPA, although he admitted that it will be a long and tedious process if it will be pursued.
Bautista, who visited Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra on Tuesday, however, stressed that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will abide with whatever decisions the court makes.
If the court grants them bail, so be it, the Army chief said.
“We consider it as a part of the rule of law. We abide with the rule of law, we have no other choice,” Bautista added.
Two suspected NPA leaders in northern Negros, who were recently arrested for the crime of robbery-in-band, were released from jail, after posting P80,000 bail.
Hopefully, the arrested rebel leaders will no longer return to the NPA movement, to continue the armed struggle. Instead, they should give a chance to the peaceful resolution of the armed conflict, Bautista said.
“They say that the answer to poverty is armed struggle, but because of the war, we are getting poorer and poorer,” he added.*GPB