KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 16 Aug) – Unidentified armed men abducted on Wednesday a member of an intelligence police unit assigned in Makilala town in North Cotabato, a police official said.
Chief Insp. Joyce Birrey, spokesperson for the Cotabato Provincial Police Office (CPPO), identified the victim as Police Officer 3 Bristol Catalan, resident of Purok 3, Barangay Katipunan here and assigned as head of the intelligence and investigation unit of the Makilala PNP.
Birrey, citing reports from police stations of Makilala and Kidapawan City, said Catalan was on board his motorcycle together with his two children when a still unidentified gunman emerged in an area at Purok 4, also in Barangay Katipunan, around 7 a.m.
She claimed the suspect pointed a gun to the victim’s head and ordered him to disembark from his motorbike while his children were told to stay put.
Catalan was overpowered and outnumbered as nine of the suspect’s companions came out from another area in Purok 4 and also pointed their guns on him, Birrey added.
The CPPO spokesperson hinted the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) could be behind Catalan’s abduction.
She, however, refused to name the leader of the group that masterminded it.
Earlier reports said a certain Commander Choi of the NPA Front 53 was holding Catalan as prisoner of war (POW) and brought to the mountainous area located along the boundary of North Cotabato and Bukidnon provinces.
As of press time, the NPA has not issued any statement as regards Catalan’s case.
The policeman’s abduction came two weeks after the arrest of a rebel commander in North Cotabato.
On August 3, elements of the 39th Infantry Battalion and the Makilala PNP raided the house of Sergio Rebuta alias “Siring” of the Yunit Militia (YuMil) of the NPA Front 51 and recovered from his possession an improvised explosive device that weighed 10 kilos, three high-powered guns with ammunitions, and subversive documents.
Birrey, however, said they have yet to determine if Catalan’s abduction and the arrest of Rebuta are linked to each other. (Malu Cadelina-Manar / MindaNews)