A ranking official of the Communist Party of the Philippines was arrested by military and police operatives in Laguna Tuesday evening, the military said Wednesday.
Army Capt. Jayrald Ternio, Public Affairs Office chief of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, said Antonietta Tonog Setias-Dizon, alias Tonet, head of the CPP’s National Organizing Department, was arrested at her safe house at Villa Olympia Subdivision, San Pedro Laguna at about 11 p.m.
Col. Alex Rillera, commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade which has operational jurisdiction in Laguna, said Dizon was arrested by virtue of an arrest warrant issued by Santa Cruz, Laguna RTC Executive Judge Cynthia Mariño-Ricablanca for the crime of murder.
The Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE), reacting to the reported arrest, condemned what it described as illegal arrest of its former deputy secretary general.
In a statement, the group said, “Dizon was illegaly arrested based on trumped up charges like murder in Bayugan, Agusan del Sur and linking her to the CPP-NPA by planting files like ‘communist’ paraphernalia, flash drives and the like, also caught in her supposed possession are gun and explosives which are pure desperate moves by the state forces. As of the moment, she is currently detained at the San Pedro Police Station.
“Wayback in 2015 Dizon had already experienced military harassment, wherein she had to spend the night and take refuge in the office of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in Ortigas, Mandaluyong City, because she may get abducted, or worse killed by agents surrounding the building.
“Dizon feared for her life and safety, so along with other leaders of COURAGE, they filed a petition for a Writ of Amparo and Writ of Habeas Data in the Supreme Court to protect their life, liberty, and security from harassment and threats by the state.”
The military said seized from Dizon’s safe house were one cal. 380 pistol with a magazine and 7 bullets; 48 pieces of live ammunitions for Cal. 380; 2 blasting caps and wirings; 10 pieces blasting caps; 2 mobile phones; 2 hard disk drives; one USB flash drive; a CPP/NPA flag; a green cap with CPP logo and subversive documents.
Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., commander of the 2nd ID, said “the arrest of alias Tonet is another major blow to the NPA terrorists’ movement for it will create leadership vacuum that will further speed up their imminent defeat.”
Early this year, several top CPP-NPA-NDF leaders to include Rafael Baylosis, Edilberto Silva were arrested following the termination of peace talks between the government and the communist movement.
President Rodrigo Duterte abrogated the peace talks due to what the military described as the series of hostile acts committed by the NPA against innocent civilians and ambush incidents on military and police personnel.
Southern Luzon Command Chief Lt. Gen. Gilberto Gapay described the arrest of Dizon as a big blow to the CPP and a significant reduction to its manpower, both at the national and local levels following the intensified security operations of government forces and massive surrender of its members.
Last week, 65 CPP-NPA members returned to the fold of law and availed themselves of the E-CLIP in Bicol.