| Philippines won’t release arrested Maoist leader
MANILA: The Philippine military has rejected the demand for the release of an alleged ranking leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) who was arrested on June 1, saying he was not in their list of “consultants” involved in their peace talks with the government.
Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc, the military spokesman, said that as such, there was no proof showing that alleged CPP secretary-general Adelberto Silva was connected with the peace negotiations hosted by Norway in its capital city of Oslo.
“The burden of proof lies with them,” Cabunoc pointed out, referring to the pro-Left human rights group Karapatan which claimed that Silva was not subject to arrest because he was a CPP “peace consultant” covered by an agreement on security and immunity guarantee signed by the government and the insurgents.
Under the agreement signed by the CPP and the New People’s Army (NPA), their members involved in the peace talks are to be immune from arrest and detention.
The NPA with about 4,000 members is the armed component of the CPP that has been waging a Maoist-style insurgency against the government for more than 44 years considered the longest in Asia and the Pacific.
Government security forces arrested Silva in a raid on his hideout on Bacoor City, Cavite province in Southern Luzon on June 1 along with his common-law wife and another insurgent.
The military said the team was armed with an arrest order issued by a regional court in Leyte province in the Visayas where Silva and other ranking CPP officials were facing multiple murder charges for the massacre of 70 rebels suspected of spying for the government in 1985.
The military disclosed that Silva, a member of CPP central committee, was named the secretary-general and succeeded Wilma Tiamzon who was arrested with her husband Benito, reportedly the Maoist group chairman, in Cebu province in the Visayas in 2014.