NPA-Leyte dismisses AFP claim about ties to warlord’s goons

The New People’s Army in Eastern Visayas today dismissed allegations by the Armed Forces of the Philippines saying that goons whom state forces killed in April and serve a warlord politico in Leyte have connections to the NPA.

The Efren Martires Command (NPA-EMC) said that Nicolas “Botoy” Ibañez, who was killed by joint AFP-PNP elements about to serve a search warrant in Carigara, had been an armed goon for Leyte 3rd district representative Vicente “Ching” Veloso III since 2011. He served as security guard for Veloso’s hacienda, and led the representative’s private armed group which killed his numerous political opponents, including ex-mayor Calao Larrazabal. Ibañez also had connections to the drug lord Kerwin Espinosa. The NPA-EMC said that for a time Ibañez was platoon leader for the NPA, but upon working for Veloso he severed connections with the revolutionary movement.

Meanwhile, the criminal element Marlon Mendoza, who was the subject of the search warrant, was part of Ibañez’s armed group. He and Ibañez are suspected of killing a certain Arnel/“Garnet” who was also involved in illegal drugs. The alleged NPA member Juanito Silleza Jr. is also not part of the NPA but works for Veloso.

“These criminal elements have no connections to the NPA,” said Ka Karlos Manuel, spokesperson for the NPA-EMC. He chided Brig. Gen. Zosimo Oliveros of the 802nd Infantry Brigade for fabricating lies to malign the NPA and associate it with criminal activity.

“The AFP is trying to project its own anti-social activities onto the NPA, even though it is the AFP who has historically close ties to criminal warlords such as Veloso,” Manuel said.

Under former commander Brig. Gen. Lope Dagoy, the 802nd IBde colluded with Veloso to offer ‘relocation’ and ‘surrender benefits’ under E-CLIP to peasants in San Isidro and Calubian towns, so that despotic landlords and bureaucrat-capitalists such as Veloso can seize their lands. Elements of the 802nd IBde also served as security forces for Veloso’s ecotourism project covering parts of Matag-ob, Merida and Villaba towns.

Manuel cautioned the public against believing the AFP and its “fake news” factory, and urged them to expose its lies. “Oliveros and his ilk are desperate to keep in their hands the military bonuses rewarded to them as they maintain the illusion that Leyte is ‘insurgency free.’ Thus, they resort to cooking up lie after lie against the revolutionary movement,” he ended.

NPA-Leyte dismisses AFP claim about ties to warlord’s goons