Army sergeant nabbed by NPA freed

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/18 February) — The New Peoples’ Army (NPA) in North Cotabato and Bukidnon freed today a retired Army  sergeant  they arrested in a checkpoint along the Davao-Bukidnon highway last February 6.

Isabel Santiago, spokesperson of the Herminio Alfonso Command of NPA Front 53, said retired Master Sergeant Mario Veluz was not guilty of any counter-revolutionary activity in his three decades of combat service in the Philippine Army.

Veluz was turned over to North Cotabato Governor Lala Talino-Mendoza in Barangay Kagawaan, Kibawe in Bukidnon, at around 10 a.m., today.

Veluz was a security officer of Mendoza when she was still the representative of North Cotabato’s first district. He retired from military service last month.

Veluz was on his way to North Cotabato on February 6 on a motorcycle when flagged down along the highway in Bukidnon by members of the NPA’s Front 53.

On February 7,  the NPA set up a checkpoint along the national highway in Astorga, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur  and in Kilometer 80 also in Davao del Sur, at around 5 a.m. and separately seized the handguns of two policemen, while an Army corporal on a motorcycle was flagged down by the NPA in Monkayo, Compostela Valley province and taken hostage.

The Conrado Heredia Command of the NPA Front 20 operating in Agusan del Sur province released on Feb 13 voice clips and photos of Police Officer 3 Jorge Sabatin.

Sabatin was assigned at the 1403rd Police Provincial Mobile Group in Barangay Pulang Lupa, Trento in Agusan del Sur, which was attacked by the NPA on February 1. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)