CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindNews / 10 December) – A prominent activist from Davao City who rose to become the spokesperson of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Mindanao and a companion were killed by a joint team of Army Special Forces and police when they allegedly tried to resist arrest in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur at around 1 a.m. Thursday.
Brig. Gen. Allan Hambala, commander of the Army’s 401st Brigade, said Alvin Luque alias “Joaquin Jacinto,” whom he described as spokesperson of Komisyon Mindanao (Kommid) and his companion “opened fire at the arresting forces” prompting the police and Army to return fire.”
Hambala said Luque and his companion identified as Rodel Macana, a resident of Sitio Sangay, Barangay Libas in San Miguel town, Surigao del Sur were killed in the exchange of gunfire.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in a statement issued Thursday evening refuted the military’s story, alleging that Luque and Macana were “murdered” by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
It said the 51-year old Luque (he was 47), was unarmed and recuperating from partial paralysis.
“He was detached a few months ago from the main office of the NDF-Mindanao to undergo medical checkups and to recuperate from partial paralysis,” the CPP said, adding that a few months ago, Luque was “physically debilitated and could not walk after he underwent intense physical struggles amid heavy enemy operations and counter-guerrilla maneuvers.”
The CPP is demanding ‘an impartial investigation by an independent body” on the death of Luque and Macana.”
Hambala told MIndaNews in a telephone interview that “there were three bullet marks found on the door and ceiling,” indicating, he said that Luque and Macana fired their guns.
Hambala said they knew Luque was wounded during a series of encounters between government troops and the New People’s Army (NPA) in Andap Valley, Surigao Del Sur on May 14 to 19, 2020.
He said the rebels first brought Luque to the town of Marihatag and then transferred him from one place to another.
Hambala said the police and army soldiers found Hambala and his companion at Herminias Resort, Purok Milion, Barangay San Agustin Sur, Tandag City.
He said the operation to arrest Luque was hatched at around 7 p.m. on Wednesday after a local intelligence operative confirmed that Luque was indeed staying in a cottage at the resort.
“But Luque and his companion fired at the arresting police officers before they could enter the cottage. We did not know if he was severely wounded,” Hambala said.
He said the team of policemen was trying to serve five arrest warrants for criminal cases against Luque for frustrated murder; and kidnapping with serious detention.
He said the arresting officers found inside the cottage a Cal. 45 Remington pistol with a magazine containing live bullets; a fragmentation grenade; IED components; a blasting cap and boxes containing 500 rounds of “brand new” AK47 Cal. 7.62 ammunition.
Hambala said the police also impounded an Isuzu Dmax pickup found parked beside the cottage.
He said the body of Macana was released to his parents Thursday while they are waiting for the relatives of Lugue who is reportedly from Koronadal City, South Cotabato to claim his remains.
“The death of Luque removes one of the most senior and durable leaders of the communists operating in the Caraga region,” Hambala said.
On Nov. 29, elements of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion killed Jevilyn Cullamat, the 22-year-old daughter of Bayan MUna party-list Rep. Eufemia Cullamat in an encounter in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur.
A graduate of AB English at the Ateneo de Davao University, Luque taught at the Assumption School of Davao.
He later served as spokesperson of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or Bayan in Davao and later Cagayan de Oro.
He served as Bayan Secretary-General in Southern Mindanao.
In 2002, the 73rd Infantry Battalion filed charges of rebellion and insurrection against him, Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador, following testimonies allegedly by former rebels that Luque delivered cash and cellular phones to the NPA in the hinterlands of Davao City sometime in 1999.
In 2005, the court issued a warrant for his arrest and placed the bail bond at 200,000. He left the city for the countryside.
Luque would confirm he had joined the NPA during the CPP anniversary celebration on December 26, 2009.
In a statement sent to media outlets in January 2010, Luque said he sought refuge in the revolutionary movement, particularly with the CPP, NPA and NDF because “this is the most logical choice on my part because these are the very organizations that can guarantee not only my protection from political killings but also, above all, freedom of the people from the oppressive grip of a reactionary fascist state. I am still breathing and fighting precisely because of this choice.”
He pleaded innocent to the criminal charges filed against him in a Davao City court, adding he would have wanted his day in court but it was “impossible given the state of impunity under this (Arroyo) regime.”
Luque said Bayan or any other progressive organization had nothing to do with his decision to go underground adding that it was his “personal choice.”
“This does not in any way prove that the organizations I was involved with in the legal arena and the revolutionary forces that I have sought refuge in are one and the same,” he said.
“I have no regrets with the choice I have made because I still have my life (thanks to the NPA as my sanctuary) and I will use this life to make my mark, together with other revolutionaries, in liberating the people from a rotten society. And should I die in the course of this fight, it is one death I know that is well worth bearing,” Luque said. (Froilan Gallardo with a report from H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)