TAGUM CITY—The family of Jose Mervin Coquilla, the jail warden who was held captive by the New People’s Army, sought the help of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to lobby for his release.
On Thursday, Compostela Valley Governor Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy confirmed to Davao Today that Coquilla’s family has approached Mayor Duterte to facilitate Coquilla’s release.
“Yes, they sought the help of Duterte and we are still waiting for his response,” said Uy, in a phone interview with Davao Today.
Uy belied the NPA allegation that Coquilla was involved in negligence, corruption and drug-trade inside the Compostela Valley Provincial Jail.
“It is not true. He has no involvement in all the allegations accused by the rebels on him,” Uy explained.
Coquilla heads the jail and rehabilitation center located in Tagum City when he was taken by four unidentified gunmen in the evening of December 23 last year in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.
During his weekly program, Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa last Sunday (December 28), Duterte said that he has not yet committed on the family’s request because he wants to know why Coquilla was taken.
“Naay nitawag nako mga opisyal sa Comval. Wa pa ko mo-commit kay gusto nako mabal-an nganong ilang gidagit (Comval officials called me. I didn’t commit yet because I want to know the reason why they (the NPAs) took him),” Duterte said.
The NPA Comval-North Davao South Agusan Subregional Command, claimed responsibility for the abduction two days later, and he “was taken into custody by the NPA in order to subject him to an investigation to determine his individual culpability with respect to the complaints lodged against him before the People’s Democratic Government by jail inmates and their families.”
NPA spokesperson Ka Aris Francisco said inmates accused Coquilla of “willful negligence in the supervision of inmates and his direct and indirect, overt and covert participation of drug trade and drug use inside the Comval jail.”
Coquilla’s family, however denied the allegations hurled by the communists New People’s Army.
“All accusations against him were not true. If they want to settle it we have democratic process to follow. Intrigue is always part of it because he holds a position. There’s no need to abduct him as it is not the solution. There is a process if they have complains against him,” said Tagum City Councilor Engr. Agripino Coquilla, spokesperson of Coquilla family, as quoted saying in a Sun Star report.
A Facebook page entitled “Give Us Back Warden Coquilla, Give Us Back Our Father” was created on December 28 to raise public awareness among netizens and to hasten his release. It has generated more than 1,000 likes.
Although the administrator of the page is unknown, a post, nevertheless, described Coquilla as “a loving father, caring husband, faithful friend and responsible jail warden.”
“His wife, children, friends, co-workers and all those who know Warden Coquilla’s goodness is in deep sorrow upon his unreasonable captivity. Let us all help in praying for his safe and immediate release from the hands of his captors,” a post read.
“We assure his family that he is being treated well by the NPA and the revolutionary mass base,” NPA’s Francisco stressed. (davaotoday.com)