NEGROS OCCIDENTAL Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson has commended the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for carrying out the successful and peaceful search operations in the offices of progressive groups in Bacolod City.
The governor’s commendation was stated in a resolution approved during the joint meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) and Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) held at the Capitol Social Hall here on Thursday afternoon.
Lacson said in an interview before the meeting that he believes the operations conducted last October 31 were legitimate as the authorities were issued search warrants by the court. “That was the basis of their entry to the premises,” he said.
Lacson also noted that “it was not a spur of the moment operations” and “there had been a lot of intelligence operation going on.”
“It’s a work that they had to do,” he said. ”If that will bring about lasting peace in the province then, I am all for it.”
The simultaneous operations conducted in four areas occupied by Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, National Federation of Sugar Workers, and allied organizations led to the arrest of 55 persons, among them 13 minors, and the recovery of firearms, ammunition, and explosives.
Of the 42 charged, 31 were cleared and released, including 21 former employees of Ceres bus operator, Vallacar Transit, Inc.
“I’m just familiar with the 21. I think (they) were just there at the wrong time, the wrong place. But definitely, they were not in any way recruits,” Lacson said.
What is good with this, he said, is that the justice system is rolling.
“I think all of them during the inquest were interviewed so they had the right to defend themselves,” he added.
Provincial planning head Ma. Lina Sanogal, action officer of the PPOC and PADAC, said Lacson sees it fitting to commend the army, police, and other law enforcement agencies involved since the operations were done legally and peacefully.
“It was done within the bounds of the law. There was no bloodshed and those apprehended were given the chance to defend themselves,” she said.(By Nanette Guadalquiver)
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