BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division and the Police Regional Office 6 vowed aggressive operations against the New People’s Army rebels responsible for many atrocities in Western Visayas.
The declaration was made by Maj. Gen. Eric Vinuya, 3rd Infantry Division commander, following the death of Komiteng Rehiyonal-Panay Finance Bureau head Reynaldo Bocala and Willy Arguelles during an alleged shootout with authorities Friday night in Pavia, Iloilo.
“The long arms of the law will always prevail in bringing to justice those who have violated it,” Vinuya said.
P/Brig. Gen. Rolando Miranda, PRO 6 director, urged NPA remnants that are still fighting against the government to surrender, before it will be too late for them.
The Communist Party of the Philippines issued a statement, strongly condemning the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for the coordinated killing of Bocala, whom it described as the National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant for Panay region.
CPP spokesperson Marco Valbuena claimed that Bocala and Arguelles were killed by military and police operatives in a Tokhang-style liquidation operation while purportedly serving warrants of arrest.
But Vinuya said the death of Bocala is a victory, not only for the government’s law enforcement operation, but also for the people of Panay, who suffered much from the cruelty of their terroristic acts, and justice for all the victims of their criminal activities.
Two .45 caliber pistols, a laptop computer, and five cellular phones were recovered at the scene of incident.
Vinuya, in a statement issued by the 3ID Public Affairs Office, reported that Bocala, husband of KR-Panay secretary Concha Araneta-Bocala, was indicted for murder by Antique Judge Ma. Monina Misajon on April 16, 1990.
Miranda reported that Bocala had pending cases for robbery-in-band with frustrated homicide, illegal possession of firearms, robbery with physical injuries, and arson.
He added that Bocala had a P4.8-million reward for his arrest.
Miranda also confirmed that one police operative was hit, but his bulletproof vest saved him.
Valbuena said in a statement that Bocala was unarmed. To cover up their crime, the AFP and PNP are concocting lies in claiming that Bocala, 75, and his companion “fought back”, he added.
Stories by police and military officials of firearms recovered from the scene are all made-up to make the crime a legitimate police and military operation, he said. Valbuena said that, in line with the CPP directives, the NPA must do its utmost to punish the perpetrators of these murders.*