No bail for Rafael Baylosis; explosives raps filed

By Emmanuel Tupas

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Baylosis was the first high-profile insurgent arrested after President Duterte scuttled the peace talks with the communist rebels late last year. STAR/Michael Varcas/File Photo

MANILA, Philippines — Government prosecutors yesterday recommended no bail for senior communist leader Rafael Baylosis and comrade Guillermo Roque after they were charged with illegal possession of explosives.

Quezon City Assistant Prosecutor Nilo Peñaflor, however, recommended a bail bond of P120,000 each for illegal possession of firearms.

The charges came after Baylosis and Roque were arrested on Wednesday by government forces in Quezon City.

Both rebels reportedly yielded automatic pistols and a hand grenade hidden in a bag of rice when they were caught by lawmen.

Senior Supt. Wilson Asueta, chief of the National Capital Region office of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said they intend to file additional charges of disobedience of a lawful order against Baylosis and Roque for refusing to undergo booking procedures.

Both rebels were taken into custody by the CIDG after they were arrested by a joint police and military team.

Baylosis was the first high-profile insurgent arrested after President Duterte scuttled the peace talks with the communist rebels late last year.

Duterte ordered security forces to rearrest the freed rebels following the collapse of the peace talks.

Baylosis was among 18 rebel leaders freed on bail in August 2016 and allowed to travel to the Netherlands as peace consultants of the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) negotiating peace with the Philippine government.

Among the freed rebels were the couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, the suspected top leaders of the NPA who are now in hiding.

Baylosis headed the CPP during the 1980s at the peak of the insurgency against the Marcos regime.

Police said the 69-year-old Baylosis was the “acting secretary” of the NPA.

Baylosis is facing murder charges after the military discovered the mass grave of 15 suspected government spies in 2006 who were killed in Southern Leyte province.

The NDF described the arrests as “illegal” and a “flagrant violation” of safety guarantees, saying Baylosis was a peace talks consultant.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Isagani Zarate said the government had violated the agreement and immunity guarantees by arresting an NDF consultant like Baylosis, who is involved in the peace talks.

Officials maintained Baylosis lost his immunity following the breakdown in the peace talks.

Militant groups also slammed the arrest, saying the charges against Baylosis were made up. Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao said they are seeking an investigation on Baylosis’ arrest.

Casilao is certain the evidence were planted since it defies logic for Baylosis to be carrying firearms and explosives in the middle of a city.

“That kind of style is no longer believable just to justify an illegal act,” Casilao said.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa dismissed the allegations.

Dela Rosa said they have heard similar complaints before.

“When a drug pusher is arrested, the suspect will say we planted shabu. That’s just what it is,” Dela Rosa said. – Romina Cabrera, Rhodina Villanueva

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