PHILIPPINE National Police Officer-in-Charge Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa yesterday defended the legitimacy of a series of police-military operations in Bacolod City.
Arrested during the raids were 40 suspected rebels while 14 minors allegedly newly-recruited by the New People’s Army to serve as “child warriors” were rescued.
Last week, a series of police-military operations in Barangays 33, Bata and Taculing in Bacolod City led to the arrest of the suspected CPP/NPA/NDF personalities in Western and Central Visayas regions and the rescue of 14 NPA “child warriors.”
The operations were conducted by security troops on the strength of search warrants issued by Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.
Gamboa said the operations were in line with the ongoing police-military efforts against the rebel movement in line with President Duterte’s Executive Order 66 to end the local communist armed conflict.
Confiscated during the raids were 32 assorted firearms, three hand grenades, two 40mm grenade launchers, suspected NPA documents and other paraphernalia.
The arrested suspects are undergoing a thorough investigation while the minors will be turned over to the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development upon documentation.
Gamboa brushed off claims by supporters of the suspects that the arrests were illegal and that the recovered evidence were merely “planted” by security forces.
“Legitimacy is a status which they can prove during trial,” he said.
“This is the reason why the law sees to it that members of the media, the barangay should be present during the conduct of any search. But let them prove their allegations in court. Right now, we’re standing behind the legal service of search warrants and will prove they are supporting rebels,” the PNP OIC said.