NPA seizes 2 cops in Suri­gao Norte

Tempo - - Front Page - By MIKE U. CRIS­MUNDO (with ad­di­tional re­port from Roel N. Ca­toto)

BUTUAN CITY – Au­thor­i­ties are now in pur­suit of sev­eral armed men be­lieved to be mem­bers of the New Peo­ple’s Army (NPA) af­ter they re­port­edly snatched two po­lice­men Mon­day in Barangay Bad-as, Placer town, Suri­gao del Norte.

A flash re­port re­ceived by the tac­ti­cal com­mand and ac­tion cen­ter of Po­lice Re­gional Of­fice 13 (PRO 13) iden­ti­fied the ab­ductees as Po­lice Of­fi­cer 2 Al­fredo Lauro Deg­a­mon, Jr. and Po­lice Of­fi­cer 2 John Paul Mon­daya Diverte, both as­signed at the Placer Mu­nic­i­pal Po­lice Sta­tion (MPS).

The two were said to have been seized while man­ning a po­lice out­post at a por­tion of the na­tional high­way in Barangay Bad-as.

“They were nabbed while per­form­ing duty as beat pa­trollers at 1:40 p.m. Mon­day by an un­de­ter­mined num­ber of armed men be­lieved to be mem­bers of New Peo­ple’s Army (NPA),” the re­port said.

The as­sailants, sup­pos­edly wear­ing Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion and De­tec­tion Group uni­forms, es­caped with their cap­tives on board a rented Starex van, which was later found aban­doned in Si­tio Ali­ma­toc in Barangay Mabini, Placer.

The op­er­a­tors of the van, Benjie Besing, 56, and Don­ald Pi­togo, 46, are now un­der po­lice cus­tody. Both main­tained they have no idea their pas­sen­gers were armed and dan­ger­ous. They claimed they were asked to dis­em­bark from the ve­hi­cle be­fore the crime was car­ried out.

The Suri­gao del Norte PPO im­me­di­ately re­ac­ti­vated the Cri­sis In­ci­dent Man­age­ment Task Group af­ter con­fir­ma­tion of the ab­duc­tion.

All po­lice sta­tions in the area were also alerted and Con­di­tion Sit­u­a­tion Re­sponse Sys­tem (CSRS) Level 3 was ac­ti­vated by the re­gional com­mand of PRO 13.

The Army’s 30th In­fantry Bat­tal­lion (30th IB) and the Suri­gao del Norte Po­lice Pub­lic Safety Com­pany are lead­ing res­cue and pur­suit op­er­a­tions.

Lt. Col. Allen Ray­mund To­mas, com­mand­ing of­fi­cer of 30th In­fantry Bat­tal­ion, said the ab­duc­tion is in vi­o­la­tion of the Com­pre­hen­sive Agree­ment on Re­spect for Hu­man Rights and In­ter­na­tional Hu­man­i­tar­ian Law (CARHRIHL).

PRO 13 Re­gional Di­rec­tor Chief Supt. Rolando B. Felix has or­dered Suri­gao del Norte Po­lice Provin­cial Of­fice (PPO) di­rec­tor Se­nior Supt. Antony B. Maghari to closely su­per­vise the op­er­a­tions.

“This is an­other des­per­ate move of the NPAs, as our gov­ern­ment forces stepped up its all-out op­er­a­tions against them,” said Chief In­spec­tor Renel E. Ser­rano of PRO 13 in an in­ter­view.

The mu­nic­i­pal cri­sis man­age­ment com­mit­tee of Placer town con­ducted an emer­gency meet­ing yes­ter­day to ar­range ne­go­ti­a­tion for the safe re­lease of the po­lice­men.

Mean­while, in a live in­ter­view yes­ter­day morn­ing on RPN-DXKS, a lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion, a cer­tain Ka Oto, al­leged spokesper­son of the CPP-NPA North­east­ern Min­danao Re­gional Com­mit­tee, con­firmed the ab­duc­tion was car­ried out by mem­bers of Guerilla Front 16 B, headed by a Ka Lu­cas.

Ka Oto said the two ab­ducted cops are to be in­ves­ti­gated fol­low­ing com­plaints they have been in­volved in Ex­tra Ju­di­cial Killings (EJKs).

He went on to as­sure the par­ents, rel­a­tives and friends of the ab­ducted po­lice­men “they have noth­ing to worry be­cause they (ab­ducted po­lice­men) are in safe con­di­tion and that their rights are be­ing re­spected by the cus­to­dial force of the NPA.”

In Novem­ber 2014, the rebels kid­napped three po­lice of­fi­cers whom they even­tu­ally re­leased months later to then Davao City Mayor Ro­drigo Duterte.

In July last year, NPA com­bat­ants also ab­ducted four po­lice­men in Mal­imono town, also in Suri­gao del Norte. The vic­tims were re­leased months later fol­low­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions led by lo­cal re­li­gious groups, provin­cial and town of­fi­cials.

Pfc Er­win Salan of the 30th In­fantry Bat­tal­ion was ab­ducted by the NPA early this year in Ale­gria town. He was freed late April.

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