Police killed a National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant In Iloilo City while a retired NDFP leader and former priest was also gunned down in Camotes Island in Cebu province Friday evening.
Reynaldo Bocala, a known Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and new People’s Army (NPA) leader in Panay Island, was killed in a raid conducted by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) last night at Providence Subdivision, Brgy. Balabag, Pavia, Iloilo.
Local alternative media outfit Panay Today reported that the PNP-CIDG conducted the raid to purportedly serve four warrants of arrests against Bocala.
Bocala was the husband of NDFP peace consultant Concha Araneta-Bocala.
Also killed in the operation was a certain Willy Arguelles who was with Bocala at the time of the incident.
Iloilo police initially announced the incident was an illegal drugs buy-bust operation, local radio reports said.
Panay Today said a Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) Document of Identification was found on Bocala by the members of the operating team.
A Kodao source confirmed Bocala was a JASIG Document of Identification holder.
A JASIG Document of Identification supposedly protects its bearer from surveillance, harassment, threat, arrest and killing as participants in the peace process between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).
State agents however have killed and arrested several JASIG-protected peace process participants, especially after formal NDFP-GRP peace negotiations were cancelled by GRP President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017.
Killed in his sleep
In Cebu province, former Roman Catholic priest and NDFP consultant for Cebu Rustico Luna Tan was killed in Purok Caimito, Brgy. Upper Poblacion, Pilar, Camotes Island, Cebu.
Tan was asleep on his hammock when shot on his face and torso by unidentified assailants.
He was 80-years old.
A former political detainee, Tan was abducted in 2017 by the PNP detained in Tagbilaran City, Bohol for alleged 14 counts of murder.
The charges were dismissed by the Tagbilaran Regional Trial Court in 2019.
The former priest was again slapped with murder charges in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental soon after but was freed in March 2020 by release on recognizance.
Tan had been active since in community organic farming initiatives in Camotes Island until his death yesterday.
Tan was also arrested with 14 others from the Visayas and detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City in 1989 on charges of illegal possession of firearms and rebellion. He was eventually cleared of the charges.
Tan first gained prominence as NDFP peace negotiator for Cebu Province between 1986 and 1987 in the first ever NDFP-GRP peace talks.
Ordained as a priest under the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart congregation, Tan served in various parishes in Surigao and Lapu-Lapu cities.
He later joined the NDFP-allied Christians for National Liberation.
Tan was among the many priests from all over the country who joined the CPP-led revolutionary movement during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)