Rebels urged to free BJMP personnel snatched in Bukidnon

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/3 August) – A prison official today called on the New People’s Army to release on humanitarian ground the four Bureau of Jail Management and Penology personnel abducted by the rebel group in Kitaotao, Bukidnon almost two weeks ago.

In an appeal aired over station dxDB, Inspector Guy Jason Reyes, Malaybalay City jail warden, said the NPA should release the captives as they are not combatants and two of them have lingering illnesses.

Without mentioning names, Reyes said one of the captives has gout arthritis and another one is suffering from high blood pressure.

The BJMP personnel being held captives were identified as Jail Inspector Eric D. Llamasares (Ozamiz jail warden, of Philippine National Police Academy Class 2007), Jail Inspector Murphy B. Todyog (PNPA Class 2008), Special Jail Officer 2 Rogelio E. Begontes and Jail Officer 1 Rolando D. Bajuyo Jr.

Last July 21, NPA guerrillas posing as soldiers intercepted a BJMP vehicle in Maluos, Barangay Sinuda in Kitaotao, set free a convicted inmate identified as Dennis Rodenas, and took with them the four jail officers.

Rodenas, alleged to be a bomb expert and a ranking NPA member, was being transported to the Davao Penal Colony to serve time for illegal possession of explosive components.

The NPA claimed in a statement that Rodenas was “unjustly sentenced” based on charges “fabricated by the Philippine Army.”

Reyes said a BJMP official from Manila was arriving today to talk to local officials on the progress of negotiations for the release of the captives.

He said provincial and municipal officials have formed a crisis management team to negotiate with the NPA, adding the rebel group has demanded a stop to military operations in the area to facilitate the release.

Quoting Gov. Alex Calingasan, Reyes said the captives were in good condition and that medicines had been sent to them. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)