KIDAPAWAN CITY [April 15/Friday] – The Army in North Cotabato said they will report to the government peace panel the abduction Thursday by the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) of two soldiers and a civilian in a village in President Rojas town as a breach of the “ceasefire” between the two parties.
The victims were identified as Cpl. Delfin Sarocam and Pfc. Jayson Valenzuela, both members of the 57th Infantry Battalion, and former Barangay Datu Puas Inda councilor Eliory Lastimosa. They were reportedly on their way to a dialogue with residents of Sitio Dalinding in Datu Puas Inda when waylaid by the rebels.
They were believed taken to a rebel camp either in Arakan town or Antipas town.
“This is a criminal offense perpetrated by the communist terrorists. It also showed the NPAs are not serious in peace process because they still resort to terroristic activities, like kidnapping, while there is a ceasefire,” Lt. Manuel Gatus, chief of the civil military operations of the 57th IB.
The National Democratic Front and the government have not signed a ceasefire agreement despite the formal resumption of peace talks in Oslo, Norway last February.
Arguing the abduction has ruined confidence-building efforts, Gatus said they would not allow similar acts by the rebels while the GPH-NDF talks are ongoing.
Meanwhile, Lastimosa’s relatives were planning to file criminal charges against still unidentified NPA rebels who abducted the former village councillor.
Gatus said the charges would include serious illegal detention and kidnapping. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)