NDF heeds call of family, peace advocates; orders release of captured cop

Mar. 25, 2013

In a statement Sunday, Rubi del Mundo, spokesman of the NDFP in Southern Mindanao said their decision to release Nojapa “was based on purely humanitarian grounds in the wake of the appeal made by Nojapa’s family and peace advocates.”

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has heeded the calls of support groups and the family of the New People’s Army (NPA) captive Police Officer 3 Ruben Magno Nojapa, Jr.

In a statement Sunday, Rubi del Mundo, spokesman of the NDFP in Southern Mindanao said their decision to release Nojapa “was based on purely humanitarian grounds in the wake of the appeal made by Nojapa’s family and peace advocates.”

It can be recalled that Nojapa, 50, was arrested on March 18 in a checkpoint mounted by the NPA’s Guerilla Front 27 in Mainit village, Nabunturan town.  He is assigned at the Nabunturan Police Station.

In a press conference Saturday, the wife of Nojapa reiterated an appeal she made shortly after her husband was taken by the NPA.

Nanawagan ako sa mga kasundalohan ug kapulisan nga undangon usa nila ang ilang operation,” Gertrudes Nojapa said, adding that “Ang akong gikabalak-an, kung magpadayon ang operation alang sa pag-reskyu sa akong bana, basin duna na hinuon mahitabo sa iya.”

Peace advocates under the Sowing the Seeds of Peace as well as former Nabunturan Mayor Macario Humol, Mainit village’s councilor Armando Quebral and a member of Iglesia ni Kristo Sidiakano Nomer Bialen also asked the police and military troops to suspend their operations as they ask the NPA to release Nojapa.

Buot namo nga mahatagan og kalinaw ang pamilya (ni Nojapa),” Bishop Delfin Callao said.  He shared that Nojapa’s family had asked for their intervention.

Nojapa’s friend, Quebral, also hoped that the communist guerillas hear their prayer to release Nojapa, asking it as a gift in time for the NPA anniversary on March 29.

Sayod ako nga ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan nagtamod sa balaod sa gubat ug kampante ako nga anaa siya sa maayong pag-custody,” Quebral said adding that Nojapa “is a good police officer and he has no blood debt against the people where he’s assigned.”

Nojapa’s wife also expressed confidence that the NPA would not harm her husband, saying “tungod walay daotang gibuhat ug walay atraso sa NPA ang akong asawa.”

During a forum hosted by the Tri-Media Organization for Peace and Alliance in Mindanao Thursday, Colonel Leopoldo Galon, spokesperson of the AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command, said that he doesn’t worry over Nojapa being held by the NPA.

Dili ko mabahala ana kay dili man na patyon (sa mga NPA) ang PNP.  At the end of the day, mosulti ang gi-abduct nga gi-trato sila’g maayo.   Sa amo, okay ra na kay pakaonon man gihapon na nila,” he told journalists.

Galon raised though that Napajo might be tired from trekking the mountains, “Pero okay ra na, nagpa-abduct man (siya), so malas lang.”

NDF’s Del Mundo said Nojapa was investigated after his capture but “no sufficient evidence was established to warrant his prosecution for serious crimes against the Filipino people and the revolutionary movement.”

Nojapa’s custodial unit was the NPA’s Comval-Davao Gulf Sub-Regional Command.

As the NDFP ordered Nojapa’s release, it asked the 10th Infantry Division and the provincial police to cease their offensive operations in Compostela Valley “to pave the safe, orderly and expeditious release” of their captive.

No suspension of operations

But amidst the call of suspension of offensive operations from government troops, PNP Provincial Director in Compostela valley, PSSupt. Camilo Cascolan told davaotoday.com that “SOMO or SOPO is decided by the headquarters.”

In a text Monday, Cascolan noted that the joint operations of the military and the police “are normal operations.”

Galon earlier said that pursuit operation is part of their law enforcement action, as he called the NPA’s move “kidnapping and a violation of the law.”

Meanwhile, Major Jake Obligado, chief of the 10th ID’s Civil-Military Operations, in an interview Thursday, said they won’t declare any SOMO and they “will not negotiate with the terrorists (NPA).”

He also cited three reasons why the NPA launched a series of attacks in the region, including its taking of POWs: to intimidate the people, to gather masses for another  mass action and to show force in the coming elections to be able to collect permit to campaign (PTC) and permit to win (PTW) fees.

PTC is said to be a requisite before any politician can hold electoral campaigns in NDF-territories.  PTW on the other hand, is said to ensure a politician’s victory.

Resume peace talks

Reverend Jurie Jaime, spokesperson of rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao, who also worked for Nojapa’s release said that because of the current economic and political crises, it’s but natural that armed resistance exists.

He said that because of the ongoing civil war, captives or prisoners of war from both sides are but a natural occurrence.

“That’s why there’s a need to resume the peace negotiations (between the NDFP and the GPH) to resolve the roots of the country’s crises, for us to achieve genuine peace,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nojapa, according to Del Mundo, is well with his blood pressure regularly checked.  He was also given anti-hypertensive drugs for his condition, Del Mundo added.

Nojapa’s order of release, the NDFP said, “is an exercise of the political power and authority of the People’s Democratic Government.”  It added that it’s in compliance with the NDFP’s “long-standing policy of lenient treatment of prisoners of war” and its Declaration of Undertaking to Apply the Provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and Protocol I and the GPH-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.  (With reports from Marilou Aguirre-Tuburan/ davaotoday.com)

comments powered by Disqus