By Paulo Loreto Lim
Philippine Army 301st Infantry Brigade (301 IB) commander, Brigadier General Pio Diñoso, recently revealed 8,000 police officers and 2,000 soldiers are currently scouring Panay for National Democratic Front (NDF) consultant and former top leader of the New People’s Army (NPA), Maria Concepcion ‘Concha’ Araneta-Bocala.
Last December, Police Regional Office-6 (PRO-6) director, Police Chief Superintendent Cesar Hawthorne Binag, said President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered “mass arrest” of NDF consultants.
Araneta-Bocala was released from jail last year amid peace talks between the government and communist rebels. However, the said talks have since been suspended by the government, with Duterte declaring the NPA a terror organization.
Shortly after her release in August 2016, the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City hosted a forum featuring the NDF consultant, who had been detained on illegal weapons possession charges.
Last July, Araneta-Bocala’s daughter Mary Ilyich Bocala was charged on five counts in connection with the June attack by the NPA on the Maasin Municipal Police Station./PLL, WDJ