Arrested NPA official goes missing?
An alleged high-ranking official of the New People’s Army based in southern Cebu was arrested through the implementation of more than a dozen warrants of arrest against him last Thursday night in Barangay Pasil, Santander town.
The operatives served a total of 14 warrants of arrest on Rustico “Paking” Tan, 76, for multiple murder, frustrated murder, and attempted murder. The warrants were issued in Bohol and Negros Occidental.
Also arrested were Tan’s alleged underlings who had also pending warrants of arrest: Lopito Paguegbao and Eddie Cullamat.
However, four days after the arrest of the suspects, Tan’s relatives yesterday asked the police on his whereabouts because he was allegedly nowhere to be found.
Tan’s son, Nicolo Tan, together with representatives of Karapatan Cebu, went to the Cebu Provincial Police Office to ask for the whereabouts of his father, who is said to be suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure.
He added that they already went to the Central Command in Camp LapuLapu and the Military Intelligence Group-7, but both denied custody of Tan and referred the family to the PNP.
The Provincial Intelligence Branch also denied custody of Tan.
CPPO spokesperson Police Superintendent Virgilio Bayon-on said Tan was already committed to a jail facility in Bohol, where some of the warrants against him were issued.
Karapatan Cebu Spokesperson Phoebe Zoe Maria Sanchez said they only wanted to know the condition of Tan, specifically where he is detained.
“We would just like to clarify where the detainee is. Kasi it’s been four days. And they did not coordinate with the local government unit. There’s no information, copy of the warrant. They just picked up the individuals,” she said.
“Ayaw nilang ipakita kung saan nilagay. Constitutional rights of a prisoner is to inform the relatives kung asa sila and they shouldn’t be kept away from the public because they are public personalities,” she added.
Sanchez also denied allegations that Tan is still an active member of the NPA. She said Tan was peacefully living in Santander and once lived in Oslob tilling his farm.
Sanchez said Tan used to be a peace negotiator in 1986 during the administration of the late president Corazon Aquino.
Karapatan members and the family of alleged rebel leader Rustico Tan storm the police headquarters yesterday to look for the suspect, whom they claimed to have been kept from them.