Despotic Politician in Davao Oriental arrested for murder charges; temporarily released for humanitarian considerations
The New People's Army released on Monday, April 12, around 8:00 pm in Sitio Kalatagan, Barangay Calapagan, Lupon, Davao Oriental GRP mayoralty candidate Arfran "Boy" Quiñones on humanitarian grounds. Quiñones was about to face trial before the revolutionary People's Court for serious criminal offenses.
A platoon of Red fighters under the Wilfredo Zapanta Command-Front 18 Operations Command-NPA blocked the two-vehicle campaign convoy of Quiñones on Sunday, April 11. Onboard the vehicles were Quiñones, a vice mayoralty candidate and four village councilors on their way to campaign inside the guerilla areas in Lupon. Quiñones's campaign sortie inside the guerilla base is without permission from the local revolutionary authorities.
Quiñones's companions were later freed the same day. Quiñones was held on the strength of a warrant issued by the local revolutionary authorities. The charges against Quiñones lodged before the revolutionary People's Court include three counts of murder, graft charges and counter-revolutionary acts, to wit:
The murder of Oscar Fernandez. Fernandez was a known critic of Quiñones. He was killed on June 3, 2001. A witness attested that PO1 Elmar Neri, Quiñones's loyal bodyguard, implemented the crime Quinones masterminded;
The murder of Maximu Tanzo. Tanzo was the Lupon municipal treasurer who exposed the corruption anomalies of Quiñones during his earlier reign as Mayor in Lupon. Tanzo was killed February 15, 2002;
The murder of Lucio Angco. Angco was the political rival of Quiñones when he ran as barangay captain in Barangay Langca, Lupon town. Angco was killed March 20, 2008;
The excessive use of force and intimidation against the masses in Davao Oriental; and;
Maintaining a private army and caches of high-powered firearms which he used to intimidate the masses in Lupon. Quiñones was actively engaged in counter-revolutionary acts. He and his armed group directly participated in armed confrontations with the Red fighters in two incidents in 2001 and 2004. Quiñones's bodyguard PO1 Elmar Neri again figured in the 2004 incident.
The victims of Quiñones, the masses in Lupon, and the numerous witnesses that came out are seeking justice for the crimes the despotic Quiñones has committed against the people. It is however in the interest of humanitarian considerations that Quiñones was granted temporary liberty due to his fragile health conditions as ordered by the revolutionary People's Court.
Despotic candidates like Quiñones are also well-advised to heed the regulations and policies under the People's Democratic Government, including those that govern the conduct of their electoral campaign inside the guerilla territories. Arms, armed bodyguards and unfair campaigning to spread hostile acts inside the guerilla areas are absolutely not permitted. They are expected to seek first the revolutionary government's imprimatur before campaigning inside the base areas of the People's Democratic Government.