The Philippine government is bracing for retaliatory strikes by communist insurgents following the arrest of their top leaders.
Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said they were “fully aware” of the possibility of retaliation after the capture of Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma.
Wilma is the secretary general of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) while her husband is the chairman.
The couple were arrested at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday by virtue of a warrant for crimes against humanity that include murder and multiple and frustrated murder.
“We are ready to protect the citizenry, our population, and the Armed Forces are always ready to defend them,” Lacierda said in a radio interview.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday hailed the arrest of ranking NPA leaders, saying it was a major victory for the country’s peace and development efforts.
“The arrest of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon is another victory for the combined efforts between the AFP, the police and other stakeholders in pursuit of peace and security,” AFP chief Emmanuel Bautista said.
He said the two captives are undergoing processing and documentation for legal disposition.
“The arrest of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon is another victory for the combined efforts between the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines], PNP [Philippine National Police] and other stakeholders in pursuit of peace and security,” Bautista said.
“We will then continue to strengthen our resolve to bring other criminals to justice in honor of the victims of the violence perpetrated by the CPP-NPA, and in honor of our people who deserve to live in a peaceful and developed society. We call on the rest of the CPP-NPA members to lay down their arms, abandon the armed struggle and return to the comfort of their families and join us in bringing peace and development to our nation,” he added.
WITH REPORT FROM PNA