Kidnapped cop: Rebs tap YouTube for proof of life
KIDAPAWAN CITY — Communist guerrillas tapped a popular video-sharing internet site to show proof of life in the case of a captive police officer.
Members of New People’s Army (NPA) uploaded on YouTube a video showing PO1 Bristol Catalan, captured by the guerrillas on Aug. 16, was still alive.
Guerrillas tagged Catalan as a prisoner of war. The police officer was driving his sons to school in the village of Katipunan, Makilalal town, North Cotabato when guerrillas abducted him at gunpoint.
Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 53, said Catalan was in good hands.
In the video, Catalan spoke of being treated well by his captors.
He also made an appeal to the military to suspend operations against NPA in North Cotabato while he was still in captivity.
Sanchez accused the police and military of sabotaging efforts to free Catalan by launching offensives against NPA in the province.
Kidapawan Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo had appealed to the guerrillas to free Catalan.
Catalan’s two children, who were with him when he was seized, had stopped going to school and showed signs of trauma, according to the bishop.
The rebels did not say what offense Catalan was being accused of.
Gigi, Catalan’s wife, said in a radio interview that her anguish over her husband’s fate was eased by the video. She, however, repeated a plea for the guerrillas to free her husband, saying the police officer had done nothing wrong against guerrillas.
On Sept. 15, another NPA unit freed a policeman in Lupon, Davao Oriental.
President Duterte thanked the Communist Party of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines “for the humanitarian gesture of releasing a policeman taken hostage.” —Edwin O. Fernandez
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