DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/24 March) – A police officer in Compostela Valley province who has been held captive by the New People’s Army since March 18 has been ordered released by the National Democratic Front (NDF) Southern Mindanao.
In an e-mailed press statement on Sunday, Rubi del Mundo, NDF Southern Mindanao spokesperson, ordered the release of Police Officer 3 Ruben Magno Nojapa, Jr., who was nabbed by elements of the the New Peoples’ Army in a checkpoint in Brgy. Mainit, Nabunturan town, Compostela Valley.
Del Mundo appealed to the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) 10th Infantry Division “to cease its offensive military operations in Compostela Valley to pave the safe, orderly and expeditious release of Nojapa.”
The NDF also urged the provincial police to do the same.
But Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the AFP’s 10th Infantry Division, said the military has nothing to suspend as it has stopped military operations since the conduct of peace and development outreach program.
He said the army’s peace and development teams have been serving as security patrols in the villages.
Del Mundo said the decision to release Nojapa is “based on purely humanitarian grounds” following the appeal made by Nojapa’s wife and Bishop Delfin Callao, convenor of Sowing the Seeds for Peace, for his release.
But in the same statement, del Mundo said that after 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.”
Gertrudes and Bishop Callao in a press conference on Saturday, appealed to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to suspend military operations to pave the way for Nojapa’s release.
Del Mundo said Nojapa is “well, his blood pressure regularly monitored and anti-hypertensive drugs administered by medics of the NPA custodial force.” (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)