DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/2 April) —The New People’s Army (NPA) freed Tuesday Police Officer 3 Ruben Nojapa Jr. in Barangay Mainit, Nabunturan town in Compostela Valley (ComVal) after 15 days in captivity.
Acting Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte fetched Nojapa and brought him to Camp Catitipan here on board a white helicopter at around 3 p.m.
The National Democratic Front (NDF) Southern Mindanao ordered Nojapa’s release last March 24.
He was abducted by NPA rebels last March 18 in a checkpoint in Barangay Mainit.
Before he was transported to the hospital here by the police, Nojapa told reporters that his captors did not harm him in any way.
“Kay gipasaka naman gyud sa taas, napamatud-an na wala koy sala (It was proven by their officials that I did not commit any crime),” he said.
In a press statement, the NDF Southern Mindanao said that after an investigation by the NPA, “no sufficient evidence was established to warrant his (Nojapa’s) prosecution for serious crimes committed against the Filipino people and the revolutionary movement.”
Senior Supt. Aaron Aquino, Police Regional Office 11 chief for directorial staff and former ComVal provincial police director, said while waiting for Nojapa’s arrival that the latter would undergo medical and physical exams and tactical interrogation.
Duterte said in an interview after he turned over Nojapa to the police that his role in the release was only as a “delivery boy of policemen and soldiers held captive by the NPA.”
He also fetched two other NPA prisoners of war (POW)—Senior Police Officer 1 Ruel Pasion and the Army Private First Class Jezreel Culango—last February 21 in Laak town, also in ComVal.
Duterte said this was a” minor role as a simple deed for his fellowmen that had nothing to do with the war.”
“Wala naman tay mahimo, naa na man na (We can’t do anything about it. That’s already there). But, of course, everybody must remember, including the Communist Party [of the Philippines], the NPA and the NDF that I am with the government,” he added.
He said he would also be willing to “make errands for the police to save lives, make everybody happy” if the police would ask him too.
Duterte said picking up the hostage using a helicopter costs P100,000, and that “he billed both the NPA and the police equally for the expenses.” (Lorie Ann Cascaro/MindaNews)