The joint operations nabbed Rafael Limcumpao, also known as Ka Pacoy or Jeeboy, secretary of the Marxist-Leninist Party of the Philippines and Rebolusyonaryong Hukbong Bayan (MLPP-RHB) in Bataan; Domingo Alcantara, provincial finance officer; and Archie Bathan, chair of the YND, according to Major Charlemagne Batayola, 7th Infantry Division public information officer.
National YND chair Elmer Yuri Arisgado said Bathan, 22, was waiting for his turn to speak in a forum on the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) when he was called to a meeting by two men.
“Surely, they were discussing about the anti-BNPP campaign. We as anti-nuke campaigners talk with anyone. Archie and the YND have no knowledge on the identities and affiliation of the two men,” Arisgado told Punto! by phone.
Batayola said the 3rd Infantry Battalion and Bataan policemen arrested the three men at 4:40 p.m. on May 27 as they held a meeting in a house in Sitio Bubuyog, Barangay Ibaba in Samal town.
Two firearms, three hand grenades and anti-government documents were seized from the three men, he said.
Arisgado said the military “planted” the firearms and documents to implicate Bathan.
Senior Supt. Manuel Gaerlan, Bataan police director, has held the three men for questioning and for the filing of charges.
Gaerlan said Limcumpao has a standing arrest warrant for a murder case in 2005. Alcantara, on the other hand, has two warrants for murder, one for frustrated murder and another for robbery, he said. Bathan, he added, has no arrest warrant. He did not say if he can be freed soon.
The two men are both members of the MLPP executive committee in Central Luzon, Gaerlan said.
Arisgado said Bathan’s jaws were swollen and his thighs had bruises when seen by his relatives in Camp Tolentino on Thursday. Gaerlan said Bathan attempted to run away and was caught holding a hand grenade during the encounter that ensued during the arrest.
He said this was not the first time that the military has “attacked” the YND.
YND member Audie Lucero, 19, was found dead in a rice field in Balanga City in February 2006 after he was taken by soldiers and policemen, he said.
He said Bathan, a native of Bataan, has been with the YND since his college days in the University of the Cordilleras (formerly the Baguio College Foundation), continuing his organizing work at the Bataan Heroes’ Memorial College and Bataan Peninsula State University.
According to him, the arrest is the “beginning of a crackdown” against those involved and supporting the cause of stopping the rehabilitation and opening of the BNPP in Morong, Bataan.
Col. Jose Mabanta, commander of the 703rd Infantry Brigade, said the capture of the three men has “left the Bataan rebel forces in disarray and on the brink of total organizational collapse.”
Maj. Gen. Ralph Villanueva, 7th ID chief, said, “With the present rate we are going in our internal security operations campaign, I am confident that we will accomplish our target by 2010 and render the MLPP/RHB to an insignificant group.”
The MLPP was formed in 1997 by former cadres of the Communist Party of the Philippines.