Aquino government is accountable for endangering the safety of POWs

RUBI DEL MUNDO
NDFP-Southern Mindanao 

Not only is Alex Padilla lost in a daydream, he also wants to obfuscate the revolutionary movement’s record of handling prisoners of war and those accused and held under its own legal and judicial system. In the process, he is endangering the lives of the members of the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) because of military offensives in the region.

This was the contention of Rubi del Mundo, spokesperson for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Southern Mindanao, in reaction to the recent pronouncement of the GPH peace panel chief who called it a “blackmail” and “bad precedence” to negotiate for the release of the four personnel of the PNP/BJMP (Philippine National Police / Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) prisoners of war and arrested GPH Mayor Henry Dano and two military intelligence escorts.

“The GPH is engaged in treachery, where on one hand, it is on a murderous rampage, with its Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) scouring the countryside in various acts of reprisal and offensive military operations, using as dubious pretext the so-called rescue operation for the New People’s Army captives, while on the other hand, it is foisting the issue as blackmail in the non-resumption of the peace negotiations with the NDFP,” del Mundo said.

The 75th, 28th, 67th, 66th Infantry Battalions and the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion of the Philippine Army and PNP contingents are using “rescue operations” for GPH Mayor Dano and his two escorts, to cover up its fascist offensives against the peasant communities in the towns of Lingig, Boston, Monkayo, Cateel, Bagangga, Trento and Mangagoy. In the towns of Kitaotao, Kibawe, Arakan, Magpet and Makilala, the 8th, 57th and 61st Infantry Battalions are also engaged in offensive actions in search of the PNP/BJMP POWs.

Del Mundo scoffed at the AFP and the US-Aquino regime “for mercilessly endangering the lives of the prisoners of war and the three arrested while maliciously demanding for the unconditional release of the latter.”

“The GPH is accountable for putting to risk the safety and security of the NPA captives by ordering the full-scale military offensives, by refusing to acknowledge the Geneva Conventions-mandated protective status of the four PNP/BJMP personnel, and by ignoring the status of GPH Mayor Dano who enjoys his rights while under custodial investigation.”

The revolutionary movement has a long history of dealing with prisoners of war and those accused who were arrested for various crimes, a track record which “Mr. Padilla wants to gloss over in a veiled attempt to belittle the achievements of the people’s democratic government in upholding international humanitarian law and its own legal and judicial processes,” del Mundo said.

Contrary to a news report stating otherwise, GPH Mayor Dano was able to call his wife on the evening of 15 August. In respecting his legal rights as an accused, the NPA custodial force facilitated the communication between the couple, since GPH Mayor Dano was concerned that his wife — who has a heart ailment — would be unduly worried over his situation.

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