Lingig mayor, four escorts abducted

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 May) – The mayor of Lingig town in Surigao del Sur and four police and military escorts were abducted allegedly by the New People’s Army (NPA) at around 6 a.m. Wednesday at the boundary of Lankilaan, Trento, Agusan del Sur and Pasian, Monkayo, Compostela Valley, the Public Affairs Office of the 10th Infantry Division said.

Lingig Mayor Roberto Luna Jr., and his companions were reportedly on their way to visit his sick child confined at the Davao Doctors Hospital in Davao City when they were held at gunpoint by about 30 armed NPA led by alias Daryl.

But the NPA-Southern Mindanao’s Merardo Arce Command in a statement signed by Ka Simon Santiago, political director, said the mayor, whom it described as “Arroyo warlord” was “arrested” at around 6:15 a.m. at a mobile checkpoint mounted by the NPA along the Davao-Agusan National Highway in Pasian, Monkayo, Compostela Valley.

“Red fighters under the Conrado Heredia Command-Front 20 Operations Command of the New People’s Army also confiscated their firearms consisting of five M-16 armalite rifles, two .45 cal. pistols, one 9 mm pistol and one .380 cal. Pistol,” Santiago said.

Santiago said Luna, a last term mayor under the administration’s Lakas-Kampi party, “is being held for investigations for numerous criminal, land grabbing and graft cases lodged before the local People’s Court.”

“Luna is being investigated for the 2007 murders of Suazo siblings who are Barangay Union residents in Lingig town; and Luna’s involvement in the cold-blooded murder of Mayor Amerosin V. Onsing in 2001. Luna has also been accused of land grabbing 30-hectare peasant lands in Barangay Pagbacatan, and in Dahican Island.

Luna who is now running for vice mayor, has been facing graft charges for the 26-million peso Land Bank loan for water ways in 2009. The NPA statement said Luna has “pending cases in reactionary courts for illegal logging, falsification of official documents, grave misconduct, and graft and corruption.”

Luna and his escorts PFC John Rey Abao (SN 831893), PFC Arnel Dizon (SN 859544) of the 58th IB, PNP Lingig PO2 Boy de Castro and PO3 Alan Dapitanon — are now under NPA custody while investigations are ongoing , the NPA said. (MindaNews)