Government and military authorities composing the province’s task force to end the local communist armed conflict are looking at the possibility of filing charges against a Makabayan coordinator whom they have tagged as an active supporter of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Palawan.
WESCOM commander Vice Adm. Rene Medina said Friday in a press conference at the Provincial Capitol that the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) is currently gathering information and evidence to build a case that would lead to the arrest of Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) coordinator Absie Eligio.
Eligio was among the leaders of the NPA in Palawan who was captured in a video while attending the 48th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in the province.
The military has tagged him as an active supporter of the NPA who frequently visits and provides lectures in their hideouts in southern Palawan.
He said possible rebellion and sedition charges might be filed against Eligio as a “person of interest’.
“We have identified him as a person of interest. Right now, we are gathering information and pieces of evidence that will warrant the filing of cases. We are hoping na if we have solid evidence, we would be able to file cases against Absie,” Medina said.
Medina also said they are working out to file charges against other persons of interest whose names or aliases he did not name.
“We are also working out the other persons of interest and we are pushing for that kasi talagang niloloko na nila ang mamamayan ng Palawan sa mga ginagawa nila,” he added.
Medina said that the video clips that show Eligio, as well as Glendhyl Malabanan, Ronces Paragoso, Jenny Ann Bautista, and Joelito Tanilon were recovered by the military from various focused operations, including that one that transpired on August 11, 2017, in Sitio Maubong, Barangay Alacalian, Taytay.
Eligio was tagged following the recovery of Bayan Muna and Kabataan party-list campaign materials on May 3 in Barangay Culasian, Rizal town, by the Joint Task Force Peacock (JTFP) which said they are “disconcerting” because they prove that there is indeed a link and collusion between the NPA and the Makabayan coalition of 12 party-lists.
Provincial government administrator Atty. Joshua Bolusa said all the videos taken may also be used as a springboard by authorities to build up sedition cases not only against Eligio but also the other individuals seen in the videos.
But he said careful consideration of what will be filed is important so as to not waste time and effort.
“We can consider that scenario [for filing cases such as rebellion] but I don’t want to jump up the operating units, as well as the lawyers of the task force. [The video] may be used as evidence under certain conditions if authenticated by the person who took the video, there are some guidelines on how to use them as evidence. But, let us wait for a complete action,” he said.
In his previous statement, Eligio said his inclusion as a “monitored personality” by the WESCOM “is a form of red-baiting,” which he considers as “nothing new.”
He said monitoring them is like “red-baiting” which should not be the case.
“Natatawa ako kasi parang di na rin siya bago, lumang tugtugin na siya pero kapag ikaw pala mismo ‘yong nasa threat, iba rin yong pakiramdam. ‘Yong nasa Manila ako, ina-advise sa akin ng friends [ko], huwag na akong bumalik ng Palawan. Iniisip ko kung di na ako babalik ng Palawan, kailan ako babalik? Kapag di na si President (Rodrigo) Duterte ang presidente?” Eligio said.
Eligio said WESCOM has been red-baiting him since July 2018, where his pictures were distributed in a community of fisherfolk he organized, stating that he is wanted.
Due to threats, Eligio said his movements in the province have already been “limited.”
Palawan News tried to get his comment on the video released, however, he did not respond.