By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The New People’s Army (NPA) Leonardo Panaligan Command (LPC) issued a statement yesterday morning denying a meeting took place between embattled police officer Senior Police Officer 1 (SPO1) Joshua Barile in July of last year.
According to three former aides to Barile, the supposed meeting was arranged by journalist Edgar Cadagat, who previously denied the allegations.
NPA-LPC spokesperson Ka JB Regalado said the claims made by the three aides, namely Jim Paul Elizalde, Jerry Gepullano, and Roy Flores, are false and accused them of being paid by “organized syndicates.”
He said there is nobody by the name of Albert ‘Ka Ambit’ Lacerna among their group and called it “impossible” an NPA leader would speak to anyone in public, especially one working in law enforcement.
The statement echoed a comment earlier made by Cadagat, where he said NPA leaders rarely step out in public as they are easily identified and can be arrested.
Regalado said the NPA has certain policies when it comes to speaking with others.
“This rule is strictly implemented,” he affirmed. “No elements of the NPA [would] break it.”
In terms of the alleged sale of firearms to the rebel group, the spokesperson called it “heresy” and said it is only being mentioned in order to link Barile to the NPA.
Last month, Barile was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) after a search of his home yielded an array of firearms, including M-16s, M-14s, and AK-47s.
Barile later filed counter-affidavits claiming his innocence and denying ownership of the grenades and the sachet of shabu found in his home.
He also claimed the recovered firearms were turned over to his custody by the court, however, he brought them home instead of the police vault, claiming the facility was full.
The police officer currently faces murder charges for the killing of Wilmar and Wilfredo Serenio, the brother and father, respectively, of former Berya drug group member Ricky Serenio.
Following the said raid, he was slapped with additional charges of illegal possession of firearms, ammunition, and explosives, as well as possession of illegal drugs./WDJ