DAVAO CITY – Saying the police officers were civilians, not combatants, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 demanded for the immediate release of the five police officers who were taken as prisoners-of-war by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Paquibato District on Saturday, April 16.
In a statement, the PRO 11 said the five personnel of the Paquibato Police Station were performing regular law enforcement functions when they were captured by the NPA at about 11:45 am on Saturday.
“The Philippines is not at war, there is no declaration of war, nor is there any existence of conditions of war. Therefore, their continued detention is illegal under existing Philippine or any international law,” the PNP said.
“The Police Officers are civilians and not military personnel or combatants,” they added.
The PNP officers are Police Chief Inspector Leonardo V. Tarungoy, PO3 Rosenie L. Cabuenas, PO3 Rudolph Y. Pacete, PO2 Neil C. Arellano, and PO3 Abdul Azis A. Ali. The NPA also seized two 9mm pistols and one .45 caliber pistol from the policemen.
“The POWs will be held in custody pending an investigation for possible war crimes and other crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement,” Rigoberto Sanchez, NPA spokesperson said in an earlier statement.
But the PNP statement said “records will show that these police officers have no pending administrative or criminal cases and they have not violated any war crime or crimes against humanity.”
“We, therefore, demand their immediate release,” it said. (davaotoday.com)