MONTEVISTA, COMPOSTELA VALLEY—Released New People’s Army prisoner Corporal Dominador Alegre said he will face whatever sanctions his higher command will impose for the successful NPA raid in his Monkayo detachment that led to his capture three weeks ago.
“Whatever they will impose, I will accept,” Alegre told Davao Today in reply to the statement of Major General Reynaldo Mapagu, former 10th ID chief, that he, Alegre, will be investigated for possible “connivance” with the NPA guerillas.
NPA’s 4th Pulang Bagani Company seized 18 high-powered firearms and captured Alegre without firing a shot on November 2, when it raided the 72nd Infantry Battalion detachment that Alegre headed in Barangay Kapatagan, Monkayo town.
Mapagu, who now heads the national capital region command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said the military was supposedly on red alert on All Soul’s Day but he was puzzled why only a few soldiers were stationed at Alegre’s detachment. Mapagu said Alegre will face the possibility of a court martial as a result.
Alegre said there might have been lapses in security in his detachment, making it possible for the raid to happen.
Minutes before the raid, Alegre said he saw the NPAs in military uniforms but he thought they were Cagfu members because they were talking with Cafgus who just arrived from fetching water.
“It looked like they really knew each other,” he said.
Later, he said he was forced to surrender because the NPAs already entered the camp and held him at gunpoint.
Alegre said he felt “pressured” by the possibility of facing a court martial. He knew of soldiers dismissed from their jobs because of security lapses. He said he still wanted to go back to military service if he will be allowed since his loyalty remains with the government.
“If they will take me back, I will go back,” he said.
Alegre said he learned from his two-week captivity that the NPA has a cause to fight for but it is something he couldn’t understand.
He also said the NPA did not hurt him. “Not even a pinch,” he said.
He received no ‘special treatment’ during his captivity and he had eaten what food the NPAs ate.
Dr. Jean Lindo, a member of doctor’s group Rx for Peace who examined Alegre, said Alegre told her that he was not deprived of food. Sometimes, Alegre was even allowed to eat first before the guerillas who watched over him.
Clad in white shirt, blue jogging pants, slippers, Alegre was turned over by his custodial force in a remote village of Prosperidad in Montevista town in Compostela Valley province to the third party facilitators led by Monkayo vice mayor Avelino Cabag and the multi-sectoral alliance Exodus for Justice and Peace.
“I am happy that I am finally free,” said Alegre, who turned 41 on November 5, while still in captivity. He cried when he made his first statement to the media and it took him a few seconds to recover and answer some questions.
He said he was worried about his family during his captivity. He also thought he would be killed.
The NPA said in a statement they investigated Alegre for possible human rights violations. Ka Jinggoy, team leader of the custodial force that turned over Alegre to the facilitators of the release, said Alegre may have committed violations but they were not really that serious to merit death.
The NPA also challenged the military not to blame Alegre for the NPA raid.
“We call on his superiors in the 10th ID-AFP to be brave enough to assume command responsibility for the continuing military losses incurred from sustained NPA tactical offensives and not cowardly place the blame on lowly enlisted personnel like Corporal Alegre,” the NPA statement said. The NPA also pronounced Oplan Bantay Laya, the Arroyo government’s counter-insurgency program, a failure. (Grace S. Uddin/ davaotoday.com)