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2 labor leaders nabbed in Tarlac, Pampanga

Ding Cervantes, Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Two leaders of progressive workers’ groups were arrested for illegal possesion of firearms and explosives in Tarlac and Pampanga yesterday.

Joseph Canlas, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas vice chairman and Anakpawis party-list vice president for Luzon, was arrested at the office of the Alyansang Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luson in Barangay Sapang Maisac in Mexico, Pampanga at about 8:30 a.m., according to KMP chairman Danilo Ramos.

Police said Canlas yielded a caliber .45 pistol, ammunition and a hand grenade.

At about the same time, Bayan-Central Luzon and Workers Alliance of Region III leader Pol Viuya was apprehended at his residence in Barangay Anupul in Bamban, Tarlac.

Canlas and Viuya were brought to Camp Olivas in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) director Maj. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro said the arrests were in compliance with the directive of Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas to run after suspected enemies of the state.

The KMP demanded Canlas’ release, saying his arrest was based on ”fabricated evidence.”

The group said Canlas and Viuya were ”persistently red-tagged” by the military.

In Laguna, CIDG agents said seven rifles and handguns as well as improvised explosive devices and a grenade launcher were seized in the house of labor sector organizer Maritess Santos in Barangay Market Area in Sta. Rosa, also yesterday.

CIDG-National Capital Region director Col. Randy Glenn Silvio said Santos eluded arrest.

Silvio said Santos has ties with groups with links to the Communist Party of the Philippines and ”provides haven and arms stash” for the liquidation squad of the New People’s Army.

No leads

Meanwhile, police still have no leads on the killing of Dandy Miguel of the Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (Pamantik-KMU) in an attack by motorcycle-riding men on Sunday.

”We are still looking for the possible suspect,” Lt. Col. Chitadel Gaoiran, Laguna police spokesperson, said.

Pamantik-KMU said Miguel was among those who filed a complaint over the killing of nine activists in Calabarzon early this month.

KMU chairman Elmer Labog expressed concern that the attacks on labor leaders are ”worsening by the minute.”

Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said those responsible for the killing of labor leaders should be held accountable.

Bello expressed alarm over the reported killing of 50 union leaders since President Duterte assumed office in 2016. – Mayen Jaymalin, Rhodina Villanueva

EXPLOSIVES

ILLEGAL POSSESION OF FIREARMS

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