MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/21 July) – New People’s Army rebels rescued one of their comrades in a daring raid in Bukidnon at dawn today and also took as hostage four personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), including a jail warden, who were taking the suspected NPA and other inmates to the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol).
Police said around 30 to 50 rebels posing as soldiers staged the daring raid 3:30 a.m. at a checkpoint in the village of Rawari in the municipality of Kitaotao along the Davao-Bukidnon highway.
But a statement from the NPA’s Front 53 said they intercepted the BJMP vehicle at an NPA checkpoint in Maluos, Barangay Sinuda in Kitaotao.
Senior Insp. Guy Jason Reyes, Malaybalay City jail warden, identified the inmate as Dennis Rudinas, who is serving time at the Ozamiz City jail for illegal possession of explosive components.
The NPA, in their statement, spelled the inmate’s name as Dennis Rodenas, whom they said was “unjustly sentenced” based on charges “fabricated by the Philippine Army.” The NPA did not say what charges were filed against Rodenas.
The NPA identified their captives 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.
J/Insp. Clint Russel Tangares, BJMP assistant regional director for administration, told MindaNews via text message that as of 5 p.m. today, they have received no word yet from the captors.
He said the perpetrators took four M16 rifles, six 9mm pistols and one caliber .38 revolver.
Reyes said the six BJMP personnel and seven other inmates who were left behind were able to proceed to Dapecol unharmed.
He said attackers held six vehicles in a checkpoint near the landslide site last weekend in Brgy. Kahusayan in Kitaotao. When it was the turn of the BJMP vehicle to be checked, the armed men told the passengers not to move as they only wanted the firearms.
But Rudinas volunteered that it was him whom the rebels were rescuing, Reyes said, quoting one of the BJMP personnel left behind by the NPAs.
Police Supt. Canilo A. Fuentes, Bukidnon police deputy director for operations, said the attack appeared to be a rescue operation for Rudinas who he identified as the finance officer of the NPA in Misamis Occidental.
Kitaotao Mayor Rudito Rafisura said in a telephone interview that he received no reports the attackers have entered upland communities in his town. He said he was assured by police that the motorists traversing the Bukidnon-Davao Highway will be kept safe and guarded.
The NPA said the BJMP vehicle carried seven other inmates and 11 jail personnel. “Two police officers assigned at the BJMP and two other BJMP-Ozamiz City jail officers were held and taken for questioning,” the rebels added. (With reports from H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)