NPA rebels take 3 cops captive, say it’s to help Rody
SURIGAO CITY—Communist guerrillas are keeping captive three police officers and a civilian police asset whose capture, according to a guerrilla leader, was inspired by President Duterte’s call for guerrillas to help rid the police and military of scalawags.
A guerrilla leader, known only as “Ka Jared,” said the officers and asset were “arrested” by the New People’s Army (NPA).
“The arrests that we have made were in line with President Duterte’s call for the organization (NPA) to help in combating these pests in our communities, particularly those scalawags,” Jared said.
The capture of the three officers came just a few hours before Mr. Duterte ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to cease offensives against the guerrillas as a gesture of goodwill ahead of peace talks between his administration and communist leaders.
Ka Jared, who heads an NPA unit operating in Surigao del Norte, said the captives had been abducted by the guerrillas on Sunday afternoon in Malimono town, Surigao del Norte province.
They were identified as SPO3 Santiago Lamanilao, PO3 Jayroll Bayagas, PO2 Caleb Sinaca and Rodrigo Angob, a civilian police asset.
“They were not just indiscriminately taken,” said Ka Jared, one of the leaders of the NPA Front Committee 16, which operates in the Surigao area.
“They were arrested by the (communist) movement because of overwhelming complaints from the local populace,” Ka Jared said in a phone interview.
Ka Jared said PO2 Sinaca is a member of the private army of his cousin, Malimono Mayor Wallace Sinaca, which was used during the May elections.
The three other captives, said Ka Jared, are subjects of numerous complaints of abuses and had been accused of protecting “illegal activities,” like land grabbing.
The three policemen, Ka Jared said, are also involved in cases of human rights violations.
“These people are clearly scalawags because when they were apprehended by our team, they were inside a cockpit,” Ka Jared said.
The captives, it was learned, were in the village of Cagtinae for its fiesta celebration when they were disarmed and taken by at least 10 NPA members around 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Ka Jared said the captives, though, would be treated fairly and investigated despite them being “clearly scalawags.”
The fate of the captives, said Ka Jared, would depend on results of the NPA investigation.
The Caraga regional police force condemned the abduction, calling it an “atrocity” committed by a “lawless armed group.”
Appeal for help
In a statement, the regional police said all policemen in the region were placed on full alert and ordered to “preempt NPA’s hostile plans.”
The Caraga police also appealed to civilians to help provide information that could help locate the captives.
In Davao City, the Southern Mindanao police said it is continuing efforts to locate and rescue Chief Insp. Arnold Ongachen, chief of police of Governor Generoso town, Davao Oriental province, who is also being kept captive by NPA.
Chief Insp. Andrea dela Cerna, Southern Mindanao police spokesperson, said the regional police is rethinking its strategy in Ongachen’s case following Mr. Duterte’s order for state forces to stand down.
“We cannot just disregard the current situation,” said Dela Cerna. She said, however, that the regional police is “doing everything” for Ongachen, who had been accused by guerrillas of involvement in drugs.
Capt. Rhyan Batchar, spokesperson of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said the military is coordinating with police in efforts to secure the release of soldiers and policemen being kept captive by NPA. Danilo Adorador III, Inquirer Mindanao
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