Army vows to sustain crackdown vs Reds

BACOLOD City – The Philippine Army will be relentless in the campaign to end local communist armed conflict in Negros Island.

“We will never back down from our efforts of fulfilling our promise to the people of liberating Negros from insurgency,” Captain Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division said Thursday.

Pancito, together with Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, responded to the accusations hurled by leaders of Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas, and allied organizations on the simultaneous raids conducted by the police and military in areas occupied by their colleagues in Bacolod last week.

“As long as crime is being committed, we will do our task of maintaining peace and order in the area,” stressed Pancito.

He dismissed former Bayan Muna party-list representative, Neri Colmenares’ statement that Negros is under a state of de facto martial law.

“We adhere to the law, we follow the law. We did not enforce martial law and said these people should be detained. We followed the rule of law,” Arevalo added.

His statement was echoed by Pancito, who said that from the start, the Army carried out efforts within legal boundaries.

“Any decision the fiscal has rendered is respected. It is the rightful office vested with the authority to determine if there is probable cause,” he said.

Pancito said the dismissal of the complaints against the 31 persons did not weaken the cases filed against them.

“The fiscal ruled that the presence of these people was incidental to the commission of the crime. The fact remains that a crime was committed,” he added. (With a report from PNA/PN)


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