The New People’s Army (NPA) and the revolutionary forces fully recognize the appeals made by the families and other well-meaning groups and individuals for the release of the four arrested AFP men on humanitarian grounds. The NPA, however, believes that the appeals are better addressed to the Command of the 10th Infantry Division-AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) which currently stands as the biggest stumbling block to any possibility of an early release because of its policy of all-out offensive military operations disguised as rescue operations.
The revolutionary authorities have taken the request for an early release into account as they look into the merits of their individual cases just as it had done in so many similar situations in the past. On account of the various complaints of human rights violations and other violations of international humanitarian laws against AFP Corporals Marcial Bawagan and Ariel Asumo, cadremen of the AFP detachment in Barangay Limbo, Maco, Comval; Corporal Eduardo Alcala, AFP detachment commander in Barangay Anitapan, Mabini, Comval and AFP militiaman CAA Victor Pitogo, the revolutionary legal and judicial processes pertinent to their cases are currently ongoing. The arrested AFP men are treated well and their rights fully respected under the protocols of war. They have slowly adopted to the guerilla conditions of their captivity.
As the designated custodial unit, the Crucifino Uballas Command-NPA is doing everything within its control to ensure the safety of the prisoners. But the whole security aspect of the situation can only be completely addressed by a cessation of the 10th ID-AFP’s offensive military operations within the guerilla territories of the Crucifino Uballas Command.
The NPA reiterates that these offensive military operations will only prolong the custodial detention and derail the speedy resolution of the legal and judicial processes against the three arrested AFP cadremen and their trusted militiaman. The intensified combat operations of the 10th ID-AFP not only aggravate the situation of the four prisoners of war but will also result to grave human rights abuses against civilians.
(Sgs) Anvil Guinto
Crucifino Uballas Command
Front 2 Operations Command
New People’s Army-Southern Mindanao