The police filed Monday additional charges for violation of the Comelec gun ban on two counts each before the Kabankalan Regional Trial Court against arrested rebel leader Reniel Cellon and his wife, Mary Jane Magquilat, Senior Inspector Joshua Villasis said yesterday.
Villasis, who led the team that arrested Cellon, his wife, and four others at a checkpoint Friday last week, in Brgy. Dancalan, Ilog, also said similar charges were also filed against their four companions identified as Jose Sonny Boy Ditomal, 41; Rodrigo Maricasa, 49; Antonio Estaniel, 51; and Edson Gonzales, 20.
Police records show that a .45 caliber pistol, traced by the military to have been owned by the slain PFC John Ilisan and a fragmentation grenade, were recovered from Cellon, while a Walther caliber .22 pistol was seized from Magquilat.
A rifle grenade, hundreds of live ammunition for a M-16 armalite rifle and carbine, subversive documents and assorted foodstuff were also discovered in the Suzuki Carry vehicle, that Cellon and his companions were riding.
Villasis, who is the Ilog police chief, said the Kabankalan RTC has recommended P12,000 as bail for each count of violation of the Comelec gun ban.
Aside from the gun ban charges, Cellon and Magquilat are also facing murder charges, which are non-bailable offenses, and frustrated murder, he added.
If Ditomal, Maricasa, Estaniel and Gonzales are not able to post bail today, Villasis said he will facilitate their transfer to the Negros Occidental Provincial District Jail in Bago City.
Cellon, commander of the Sentro De Grabida Platoon of the NPA South West Front Committee, was linked by the military to numerous incidents of liquidation in southern Negros, with Ilisan, former rebels and paramilitary troopers as victims.
Col. Jon Aying, 303 rd Infantry Brigade commander, said the arrest of Cellon may reduce the incidence of violence and increase the chances of a secure, free and honest May 13 election in Negros.
Aying said copies of extortion letters recovered from the arrested rebel suspects also indicated an increase by three percent in their demands from private individuals.
The Apolinario “Boy” Gatmaitan Command of the NPA had earlier issued a statement claiming that they are not requiring campaign fees from candidates, who enter their so-called territories.
Aying, however, said the NPA still continues with its extortion activities, and that the rebel group will connect it to revolutionary taxes.
In fact, he added, they have a list of those who have complied with the demands of the rebel group. * GPB