MANILA -- Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday emphasized that the arrest of ranking Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leader Vicente Ladlad last week is a legitimate law enforcement operation contrary to claims made by some groups.
"The arrest of Mr. Vicente Ladlad was a legitimate law enforcement operation conducted by the proper authorities who recovered high-powered firearms and explosives in his possession. True to form, Mrs. Fides Lim Ladlad now claims they were planted to discredit the Philippine National Police and to exonerate her husband," he said in a statement to reporters.
Lorenzana also dismissed claims made by Ladlad's wife that her husband's arrest was done to derail the peace process.
"She is wrong. How can the peace process be derailed when it has been suspended/stopped last June by the President? Upon termination of the peace talks, Mr. Ladlad should have turned himself in as his provisional liberty to be part of the NDF (National Democratic Front) negotiating panel as a negotiator had also expired," the DND chief added.
Lorenzana also said that the ongoing localized peace efforts have achieved far more success in less than a year than the numerous formal talks abroad since the 1980s.
"The Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the Task Force Balik Loob continues to positively transform the lives of former CPP-NPA (New People's Army) and Militia ng Bayan rebels who returned to the folds of the law to rejoin their communities and live normal lives," he pointed out.
Ladlad is known for his involvement in the purging of communist members tagged by the CPP leadership as alleged government spies in the organization.
At least 67 bodies were unearthed in September 2006 in what is now dubbed as the Inopacan, Leyte massacre involving the Southern Leyte Front of the New People’s Army.
Ladlad was among the prominent names in the CPP charged with multiple counts of murder over the Inopacan massacre.
Also charged was Adelberto Silva, who was arrested earlier last month in Laguna, the head of the National Organization Department and Secretary General of the CPP.
"As for Mr. Ladlad’s arrest, anyone found violating Philippine laws will be dealt with accordingly. This is now best left to the courts. Mrs. Ladlad should trust in the fairness of our justice system," the DND chief emphasized. (PNA)