THE Philippine National Police (PNP) said it will welcome any probe into the death of a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front (NDF).
PNP Chief, Police General Guillermo Eleazar said that it is within the rights of the relatives and colleagues of NDF consultant Reynaldo Bocala to seek an independent investigation.
Rights group Karapatan has called for an independent probe on the incident, claiming that Bocala should still be under the protection of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).
“If they want an independent probe, so be it. Bukas po ang PNP doon. Pero gaya ng sa ibang kaso, papasok ang Internal Affairs Service dito para magsagawa ng motu propio investigation upang alamin kung may pagkukulang ang mga operatiba kaya humantong sa pagkamatay ng suspek,” PGen. Eleazar said.
Police operatives of the Police Regional Office 6, backed by military personnel, served arrest warrants issued by different courts against Bocala at his known location in Iloilo. According to police reports, Bocala resisted arrest and fired at the policemen that triggered a shootout with the suspect and his companion. Both men died in the encounter.
“With the termination of peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF, this JASIG can no longer be invoked. This guarantee of immunity from arrest is an act of good faith and confidence-building measure in the peace negotiations between the government and the CPP/NPA/NDF,” he stressed.
“Kasama nga dito iyong pagpapalaya sa mga dating nakakulong na NDF negotiators at consultants na ngayon ay nagsipagtago na matapos kanselahin ng Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang peace talks pati na ang JASIG,” the PNP chief pointed out.
The President shelved the peace talks and terminated the JASIG in February 2017.
PGen. Eleazar also took exception to fresh allegations that police operatives planted evidence on Bocala, emphasizing that the police were there to arrest the NDF consultant based on court-issued warrants.
“Ang pagtatanim ng ebidensya ay lagi nang paratang sa ating kapulisan kahit gaano pa ka-lehitimo ang mga operasyon. In this case, our policemen served arrest warrants against Bocala but Bocala and his companion resisted. Hindi naman pwedeng tumayo lang doon ang mga operatiba at hindi man lang proteksyunan ang kanilang mga sarili kung ganoong, ayon sa inisyal na report, ay naging agresibo ang suspek,” he said.
Bocala is the husband of Maria Concepcion “Concha” Araneta-Bocala, who is in the list of terrorists released recently by the Anti-Terrorism Council.