Tagbilaran City, Bohol — The country’s highest-ranking New People’s Army (NPA) leader, a Boholano who was imprisoned at the Bohol Detention and Rehabilitation Center (BDRC), was freed early Friday evening upon order of the court.
Roy Erecre, the elusive leader of NPA’s Komiteng Rehiyonal Sentral Bisayas (KRSB) who had a P5.4-million bounty on his head, posted bail of nearly half a million pesos for his temporary liberty, local jail and military sources confirmed yesterday.
Erecre’s lawyers, City Councilor Adam Relson Jala and lawyer Victor Dela Serna (former acting governor of Bohol), after showing the release order reportedly signed by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Suceso Arcamo.
Jail Chief Inspector Jose Rusylvi Abueva, warden of the BDRC in Cabawan District, here, had no choice but to walk Erecre out of the facility and into Jala’s sports utility vehicle (SUV).
Erecre had been detained at the BDRC since last May. Over the weekend, he was staying at Jala’s posh residence in Dao District, this city, having a reunion with his family.
Before Erecre was arrested on May 6 in Davao City by combined elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), the NPA commander was reportedly being groomed to lead the entire operations of the NPA in the Philippines.
His meteoric rise up the NPA ranks was propelled by the arrest in Cebu last March 22 of the Tiamzon couple – Benito Tiamzon, chairman of the NPA, and his wife Wilma Tiamzon, NPA secretary-general – which created a vacuum in the NPA national leadership.
Senior Superintendent Dennis Palo Agustin, Bohol Police Provincial Office (PPO) director, was outraged by Erecre’s release. “Alam na pala niya (Abueva) at around 5 p.m. (Friday) ang release… 8:30 p.m. na niya tinext sa amin (Abueva knew about the release as early as 5 p.m. but he informed us about it at 8:30 p.m.),” Agustin said.
Col. Potenciano Camba, Army’s Special Forces (SF) commander based in Carmen town, Bohol, initially expressed disbelief over the news. “I did not expect that he could post a bail,” Camba said in a phone interview.
Provincial Administrator Alfonso “Ae” Damalerio in a phone interview said he would look into the events that led to Erecre’s release.