Sorsogon rebels mulct P8M from politicos

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SEIZED FROM DEAD INSURGENTS

Army and police officials in Bicol present on Monday at Camp Gen. Simeon Ola a slew of high powered firearms and improvised explosive devices taken from rebels killed in the July 4 clash at Upper Calmayon, Juban in Sorsogon. Top rebel official Ka Greg Banares, National Democratic Front spokesman and his wife Ka Nel were among the eight fatalities. Photo By Rhaydz B. Barcia.

LEGAZPI CITY: Communist insurgents in Sorsogon province amassed at least P8 million from “permit-to-campaign” fees in the 2013 national and local elections, Army Col. Joselito Kakilala commanding officer of the Army’s 903rd Infantry Brigade said in a press
briefing held at Camp Gen. Simeon Ola regional command here.

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This amount was generated in Sorsogon province alone, Col. Kakilala said. “The rebels in Sorsogon has generated from P7 to P8 million from ‘permit to campaign’ fees in 2013 elections,” the military official said.

The extorted amount had been used by the rebels to buy weapons and fund their organization.

The Maoist armed group has been waging war against government forces for 44 year—the longest communist insurgency in Southeast Asia that claimed tens of thousands lives from government forces and suspected assets of the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines in the early 1980s to 1990s.

Kakilala presented high-powered firearms, improvised explosive devices and other personal belongings seized from eight slain rebels in the July 4 clash at Upper Calmayon, Juban Sorsogon.

He added that they will be launching offensive attacks against the insurgents who are victimizing even the poorest residents in Sorsogon via rebel taxes imposed on the people.

“It may be hard and tedious but we will find them in every corner of Sorsogon. So we’re calling all our politicians and construction firms to stop giving permit to campaign fees and taxes to our enemy so that the fourth generation of the rebels will be crippled,” Kakilala said.

As to eight slain rebels in the military encounter, Kakilala said that they’re unhappy seeing wayward Filipinos dead and even sympathized with their families.

Similarly, Army Col. Raul Farnacio, commanding officer of the Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade based in Villahermosa Daraga, boundary town of Sorsogon and Albay where the insurgents thrive said that their hearts are bleeding seeing fellow Filipinos dead in a military encounter.

“We even extended sympathy to the families of slain members of the communist guerrillas
who went through a different path,” Farnacio said.

Ka Greg who served as National Democratic Front (NDF) spokesman and concurrent secretary general of Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Bicol whose real name is Frankie Joe Soriano and his wife Ka Nel (Christine Puche) were killed along with six other rebels.

The corpses of Ka Greg and his wife Ka Nel were brought to Legazpi City where their relatives and friends could pay their last respect.

Soriano, 40, a graduate of political science whose parents are both public school teachers in Camarines Sur died in the company of his “party wife,” Christine Puche who is known as Ka Nel in the communist movement.

Puche was said to be a graduate of mass communication at the University of the Philippines.

A relative who requested anonymity said that Soriano met Puche sometime in 2000 when he was actively involved in protest rallies against former-President Joseph Estrada.

The duo married later and had two young children who were left under the care of Puche’s parents in Legazpi City.

Ka Greg was born in San Isidro village, Libmanan town in Camarines Sur.

He was the eldest among the three siblings, one of whom is also a public school teacher like his parents. In 2008, Soriano disappeared and was never heard of by his family, relatives and friends.

After his death in the military encounter, Ka Greg, reportedly a political science professor in one of the prestigious university in Naga City, his friends and relatives were surprised to know that the slain NDF spokesman who disappeared is indeed Greg Soriano.

The real identity of Ka Greg was revealed to the public only after the CPP-NPA-NDF published his real name on its website following his death.

“We receive complaints from the civilian residents about extortion activities carried out by heavily armed members of the NPA. It is our constitutional mandate to protect the people from any armed threats,” Kakilala said.

Kakilala, an awardee of the prestigious Presidential Lingkod Bayan and Metrobank Foundation’s The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS) urged the rebels to return the fold of law so they may be able to live with their families peacefully.

“We’re not rejoicing over the deaths of these fellow kababayans but we have a mandate to perform to protect the people from lawless elements of the society. We’re urging them [NPAs] to abandon their armed struggle and instead join us in pursuit of peace, progress and development out our country,” Kakilala said.

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