NPA admits taking miner in Agusan

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 May) – The New People’s Army (NPA) in the Caraga Region has confirmed that its Front 14 has “arrested” miner Carzon Ceasar “Abud” Lademora Saturday morning as “punitive action” for his family’s alleged “long record of abuse, crime, destruction of people’s livelihood and exploitation of small miners.”

Ka Ariel Montero, spokesperson of the Regional Operational Command of the NPA in the Northeastern Mindanao Region, said in a press statement Monday that Lademora was taken by the rebels at his mine site at Sitio Sinug-ang, Bayugan 3 in the municipality of Rosario in Agusan del Sur.

Taken with Lademora was his aide Leonardo Cacao.

Lademora operates a mining tunnel in the high-grade gold rush area in Sinug-ang, which his family has claimed since the early 1980s.

The rebels also seized 21 firearms when it raided the mine site without a single shot fired around 7 a.m. The 21 firearms include 2 M16, 1 AK47, 1 BAR, 1 M14, 1 Garand, 4 Carbines, 3 M79 launchers, 3 shotguns and 4 caliber .45 handguns and 1 .38 revolver. The NPA also confiscated assorted ammunitions, magazines and other military supplies.

Lademora is the youngest son of the late Constabulary colonel Carlos Lademora, said to be the leader of the dreaded Lost Command, whose reign in this town in the dark years of the 1980s have sown terror and gripped fear among residents here.

“Through the continuing control of said armed forces and the remaining notorious Lost Command forces, the Lademora family monopolized mining in Sinug-ang, Bayugan 3 and deprived other people of livelihood. Residents feared the existence of said armed group controlled by the Lademoras,” Montero said.

Montero described the Lost Command as a ragtag band organized by the elder Lademora composed of former Philippine Constabulary colleagues and criminal elements. “It functioned as a private army of the National Guthrie Plantations Inc. (NGPI) and Agusan Plantation Inc. (API) to grab land from farmers in the towns of Rosario and San Francisco, Agusan del Sur for oil palm plantations,” the NPA said.

It claimed that thousands of farmers were victimized and forced to sell or abandon their lands for fear of the harassment and brutality by the Lost Command.

Montero said the Lademora siblings continue their “brutal acts and grave exploitation of the people” even though their father died in 2015.

In a phone interview, he said Lademora will be presented before the people whom his family had allegedly abused and it will be up to them to hand down the verdict of his fate.

Montero dismissed military claims that Lademora was kidnapped for ransom, saying that “kidnapping would never be a part of the vocabulary of the revolutionary movement.”

He added that it is but proper to dismantle and confiscate the firearms owned by the Lademora family since these have been used for a long time to terrorize the people.

The military has claimed that Lademora is suffering from hypertension and that family members were reportedly worried if he can withstand the rigors of trekking the difficult terrains of the forests.

Montero assured that the captive will be treated with the best medical care while being held in the mountains.

The Municipal Crisis Committee has been activated by Rosario Mayor Jose Cuyos Jr. to reach out to the NPA captors and deal with a humanitarian release. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)