NPA rebels release 3 police captives
TANDAG CITY, Philippines—Communist New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas in Mindanao separately freed on Friday three of their seven captives, and pledged to release four more remaining captives at the weekend.
Police Officer 1 Richard Yu of the Carmen, Surigao del Sur police station walked to his freedom in a remote village here after 52 days as a prisoner. He was seized in July for his alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade, but was later cleared by the rebels.
“I was never worried when they took me because I knew I was not involved in illegal drugs,” said a teary-eyed Yu, whose release came as rebel and government negotiators wrapped up peace talks in Oslo, Norway.
Yu’s wife, their 9-month-old baby girl, his father, brother and other family members attended the turnover ceremony held in a village outside the city center.
Ka Sandara Sidlakan, spokesperson for the NPA Front 30, said an investigation they had carried out cleared Yu of drug charges.
Yu said while the rebels did not hurt him, he was in handcuffs most of the time, even when he was sleeping.
Also freed on Friday were Chief Insp. Arnold Ongachen, the chief of police of Gov. Generoso, Davao Oriental; and PO1 Michael Grande of the Banaybanay, Davao Oriental police.
Ongachen was taken on May 29 and was accused of involvement in the illegal drug trade in his town, while Grande was abducted in Lupon, Davao Oriental, on June 19.
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines said the other captives, PO2 Caleb Sinaca, PO3 Jayroll Bagayas and civilian police employee Rodrigo Angub of the Malimono police station in Surigao del Norte; and SPO3 Santiago Lamanilao of the Surigao City police, were also set to be freed on Saturday.