DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The New People’s Army slammed the Armed Forces of the Philippines for serving arrest warrants against hospitalized NPA leader Zaldy Cañete saying he is a “hors de combat,” a person protected under the international humanitarian law.
Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command, said that Cañete “poses no threat and is (already) incapable of fighting.”
“Currently suffering from temporary loss of memory and speech due to the sustained wounds, the rules for civilized warfare guarantee Cañete the protection and respect as a hors de combat,” Sanchez said.
He added that the GRP’s “hasty attempted arrest and detention” of Cañete is “treacherous and violates the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, the Geneva Conventions and other generally accepted principles and standards of international humanitarian law which clearly protect injured persons of the Parties in armed conflict.”
The military announced Sunday that they arrested Elizalde Cañete alias Ka Jinggoy during an Inter-Agency Law Enforcement Operations on May 12 at 10 o’ clock in the morning in Don Carlos Doctors Hospital, Bukidnon.
The Army arrived at the hospital along with the municipal police and served warrants of arrest for multiple murder and arson against Cañete.
Lt. General Benjamin R. Madrigal Jr. Commander Eastern Mindanao Command said that while Canete is receiving medical treatment, “we will be backing up the Philippine National Police in providing security and in the eventual prosecution of his numerous cases.”
The NPA condemned the military’s move to “force Cañete to surrender” saying the allegations of the charges were “fictitious” and that the warrants were served even as Cañete was still in “critical condition at the hospital’s intensive care unit.”
The NPA statement said Cañete was injured during a firefight between the 1st Pulang Bagani Company and the 3rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army on May 10 in Barangay Kipilas, Kitaotao, Bukidnon.
Sanchez said Cañete sustained head and body injuries which resulted to temporary coma, a condition which necessitated them to remove him from the area to seek urgent medical treatment in a nearby Bukidnon hospital.
He said Cañete “underwent an eleven-hour brain surgery with the diagnosis of the bullet’s point of entry at the left lower area and point of exit at right frontal skull; splinters at the right shoulders and right knee.”
The NPA said the Philippine government authorities should treat Cañete in the same lenient and humane manner that the NPA treats its own prisoners of war.
“Doing the opposite would mean the insincerity, duplicity and notoriety in the National Democratic Front of the Philippines-GRP peace talks and a mockery of the human rights and international humanitarian law, “ Sanchez said.
Cañete appeared with the 1st Pulang Bagani Company on April 2016 in Barangay Salapawan, Paquibato district, Davao City when the NPA released its five prisoners of war to then City Mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte.
Karapatan Southern Mindanao, for its part, took exception to the fact that they and Cañete’s family were barred from seeing Cañete when they visited him at the hospital Saturday.
Jay Apiag, Karapatan spokesperson said the government should allow Cañete to avail of complete medical treatment, a right guaranteed under the previously signed agreement between the GRP and the NDFP. (davaotoday.com)