Kenneth Tabla, member of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) in Palawan, has been cleared of involvement in the New People’s Army (NPA) by the Provincial Task Force-Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC).
3rd Marine Brigade (MBDe) commander Brig. Gen. Charlton Sean Gaerlan said Tabla, who is a member of the nationwide association of human rights lawyers in the province, came to them on December 4 to clear his name of any link to the insurgent group.
Gaerlan said Tabla was accompanied by his co-workers at the City Legal Office (CLO).
“Cooperative siya. Ang sabi niya wala nga siyang contact sa sino man sa mga NPA at noong estudyante pa siya ‘yon,” he said.
His clearance was announced Friday morning by the Situational Awareness and Knowledge Management (SAKAM) cluster at the PTF-ELCAC Summit.
Tabla’s clearance is the fourth to be announced by the PTF-ELCAC. The first names to be taken off the list of individuals with suspected links to the NPA were Fr. James Lahan of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa-Social Action Center (AVPP-SAC), Fr. Armando Limsa of the indigenous people’s organization Nagkakaisang Tribu ng Palawan (Natripal), and Fr. Joseph Cacacha.
On Thursday, Capt. Clifford Macatang, SAKM representative, said that priests presented themselves to authorities to clear their names and denied all accusations that they are supporting the NPA in Palawan.
“Nakipag-usap sila at sinabi na hindi nila alam kung saan nanggaling ‘yong mga documents na nakuha sa pito. Lumapit na sa PTF-ELCAC at sinabi nila na hindi sila sumusuporta sa makakaliwang grupo,” Macatang said.
“Sa inilabas natin na listahan ay may mga na-cleared na, ‘yong mga pari natin ay nakipag-usap then ‘yong NUPL provincial coordinator na si Kenneth Tabla was also cleared pagkatapos niyang makipag-usap sa atin,” Macatang said.
Also cleared by the PTF-ELCAC of involvement with the NPA are Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC), Fernando Buante, Bebit Vargas, Julita Vargas, Wilson Francisco, and Gerry Matulac.
They were cleared for denouncing the NPA and for expressing their willingness to cooperate with the authorities and PTF-ELCAC.