NPA rebel's arrest not truce violation — police

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/03 January) — The military had nothing to do with the arrest of a New People’s Army rebel in Toril district here at dawn of New Year’s Day, and nor was it a violation of the 19-day ceasefire between the rebels and government which ends midnight today, a police official said.

Supt. Querubin Manalang, spokesperson of the regional police office in Region 11, said Edwin Brigano, identified by the NPA’s Merardo Arce Command as one of its fighters, was arrested because of a standing warrant of arrest against him.

Manalang said the Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) arrested Brigano based on a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Patricio Balite of the Regional Trial Court Branch 6 in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur for double frustrated homicide and robbery with homicide.

Brigano is still being held at the CIDG pending orders from the court which issued the warrant of arrest, the police official said.

”That guy was arrested because he has a standing warrant of arrest for robbery with homicide and double frustrated homicide in Prosperidad,” Manalang said on Monday. ”In other words, (his arrest) had nothing to do with the ceasefire. That guy is a criminal, and we, as policemen, should enforce the law to serve justice and give justice to his victims.”

Lt. Col. Medel Aguilar, 10th ID spokesperson, also told MindaNews Sunday night that Brigano was not sent to Camp Panacan, as claimed by the Merardo Arce Command in a statement.

”That is wrong information because he is not in Camp Panacan. Col. Manangan confirmed he is with the CIDG,” Aguilar said.

Manalang also clarified that the arrest was a purely police operation and had nothing to do with the military.

He said the arrest was part of the CIDG spot report sent to Camp Crame shortly after New Year’s Day.

The government and the Communist rebels agreed to a 19-day ceasefire which started on December 16 to pave the way for the resumption of peace talks next month.

The NPA said in the statement that the arrest was a violation of the 19-day truce and could ”imperil” the talks. (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)