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PUNISHMENT FOR ABUSE

NPA ‘arrests’ mine owner in Agusan del Sur raid

/ 12:01 AM May 16, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur—Communist rebels on Monday confirmed that they “arrested” a small-scale gold mining operator in this province on Saturday, saying the move was meant to punish him for the long record of abuse by his family on farmers in the province.

Ka Ariel Montero, spokesperson of Regional Operational Command of New People’s Army (NPA) Northeastern Mindanao Region, said a group of rebels took Carson Ceasar “Abud” Lademora and his aide, Leonardo Cacao, after they raided the mine site in the subvillage of Sinug-ang in Rosario town.

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Lademora operates small-scale mining tunnels in the high-grade gold rush area of Sinug-ang in the village of Bayugan 3 in Rosario, which his family has been claiming since the early 1980s.

The rebels also seized 21 high-powered guns and bullets during the raid.

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Lademora, who is in his 40s, is a son of the late Philippine Constabulary (PC) Col. Carlos Lademora, leader of the dreaded “Lost Command,” whose reign in this town in the 1980s had sown terror on residents.

“Through the continuing control of … the remaining notorious Lost Command forces, the Lademora family monopolized mining in Sinug-ang, Bayugan 3 and deprived other people of livelihood. Residents feared the existence of [the] armed group controlled by the Lademoras,” Montero said.

In a local radio interview, Ka Sandara Amihan, spokesperson of NPA Northeastern Mindanao Region, said Lademora would be investigated and presented before the people whom his family had allegedly abused.

She said it would be up to the people to decide on Lademora’s fate.

Efforts by the Inquirer to reach the Lademora family on Monday failed.

Amihan dismissed earlier media reports that Lademora was a victim of kidnapping, saying “it would never be [in the] vocabulary of the revolutionary movement.”

Montero described Lost Command as a ragtag band of former PC soldiers and suspected criminals organized by the elder Lademora.

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He said it functioned as a private army of two firms in the province that was used to grab land from farmers in the towns of Rosario and San Francisco.

Montero said thousands of farmers were forced to sell or abandon their lands for fear of harassment from Lost Command.

Amihan said the rebels seized the firearms of the Lademora family since these were used to terrorize the people.

She assured that Lademora would be given the best medical care while under captivity.

Rosario Mayor Jose Cuyos Jr. has activated the municipal crisis committee to reach out to NPA rebels and seek Lademora’s release. —CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN

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