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Military wants party-list probed for ties to 2 NPAs

By: Genalyn D. Kabiling and Camcer Ordonez Imam

The military is pushing for a “thorough investigation” on the alleged link between the Anakpawis party-list group and two suspected New People’s Army bomb experts arrested in Bukidnon last Wednesday.

Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said authorities must look into concerns if it was true that one of the suspects was a “bona fide member” of the party-list organization.

“The individual that was caught in Bukidnon wore a party-list ID from, if I’m not mistaken, Anakpawis, so we need to ascertain from the group whether this individual is a really part of their group,” Padilla said during a press conference in a hotel in Pasay City.

“This is something we have to reach out to the party-list concerned and make sure they have not been using their resources to fund the activities of this group,” he added.

Padilla assured that the military will properly coordinate with House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez about the planned inquiry concerning Anakpawis group.

He said the military would provide all relevant information to Congress to aid the investigation as well as the “check and balance whether that party list is indeed putting resources to these individuals.”

“Ang nakakabahala lang po doon eh ‘yung isa sa mga nahuli ay nagpapanggap na isang miyembro ng party-list,” he said.

“Sana naman po ‘yung party-list na ‘yun ay tingnan mabuti kung sino ‘yung kanilang kinukuha dahil iba po ang nagiging pakay at nagiging cover po ‘yung kanilang pagiging miyembro ng party-list na ‘yon,” he said.

Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the Army 4th Infantry Division, identified the suspects as Ruel and Ramil Calolot.

Martinez said the brothers were arrested in Purok 8, Barangay Kiburiao, Quezon.

Seized from the suspects were 24 improvised explosive devices, two caliber .38 revolvers, a 10-meter safety fuse, a 200-meter detonating cord, five blasting caps, switch boxes, three laptops, a gun, bullets, other IED paraphernalia, and documents, Martinez said.

Also seized from Ruel was an Anakpawis party-list identification card signed by then Anakpawis national president now Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano.

Martinez said police and the military received information that the NPA is planning to attack the community. An operation was launched that led to a five-minute encounter and the arrest of the suspects.

“The arrest of the NPA’s bomb expert will cripple and delay their plans to carry out attacks in our area of responsibility,” said Martinez.