NPA demands justice for death of ‘hors de combat’ member

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 28 Oct) – A leader of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao has condemned and demanded justice for the killing on October 11 of one of their top leaders whom he considered as “hors de combat.”

The French term is used to refer to military personnel or combatants who are incapable of fighting because of unconsciousness, wounds or sickness, among others.

In a press statement issued to media on Tuesday, Rigoberto Sanchez, of the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command, said Dennis “Ka Mayen” Rodinas was recuperating after having sought medical treatment in Cebu City when government forces allegedly stormed and “summarily” executed him.

Sanchez also urged the “unconditional” release from prison pregnant NPA leader Girlie Mercado and two of Rodina’s relatives: Ryan Moralde and the latter’s sister, Rodelyn.

According to Sanchez, Rodinas’s failing health forced him to seek medical attention late last year.

The military, however, said Rodinas was killed in a gunfight.

Major Eduardo Precioso, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Central Command, said that Rodinas was killed after a gunfight with 30 Army and police operatives in his newly constructed house in Barangay Pong-ol Sibugay in Cebu City.

Precioso said the joint Army-police team was serving the five arrest warrants issued by Branch 3 and Branch 56 of the Regional Trial Courts in Compostela, Davao de Oro for murder, terroristic acts and other alleged heinous crimes against Rodinas, but the rebel leader resisted arrest.

Rodinas, said Sanchez, led the raid in April 14, 2015 of the residential compound of Mayor Joselito Brillantes of Monkayo, Davao de Oro (formerly Compostela Valley) and disarmed his private army after they seized 74 of their high-powered firearms and machine guns.

Three years prior to the attack against Brillantes, Rodinas and his team reportedly confiscated 66 high-powered guns issued to a private security agency that allegedly protected a large-scale mining company in Butuan City.

They also attacked in April 2017 Lapanday Foods Corporation in Davao City, Sanchez said.

“It was also in 2017 that Rodinas allegedly executed a certain Dario Otaza, leader of a para-military group, and his son Daryl in Agusan del Sur,” Sanchez said.

The NPA spokesman revealed that Rodinas was captured and jailed for several years in Western Mindanao before he allegedly staged a daring escape in July 2011 through help from an NPA unit in Kitao-tao, Bukidnon.

Rodinas was reportedly onboard a vehicle of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) headed towards the Davao City Penal Colony when members of NPA Front 53 under then Commander Jasmine flagged it down.

The rebels apparently rescued Rodinas and captured as “prisoners of war” four BJMP personnel, including its jail warden.

“Time and again, the state forces failed to realize that killing a revolutionary will not stem the tide of the revolution, but will only flame the anger of the masses,” Sanchez stressed in a statement. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)