Four police personnel accorded POW status, Mayor Dano detained and under investigation

Merardo Arce Command
NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command

Lingig Mayor Henry Dano facing investigation on the basis of complaints filed before the People’s Court for various armed hostile acts against the revolutionary forces

Status of two Intelligence operatives of the 4th ID-PA-AFP fronting as Mayor Dano’s escorts to be determined in the course of the investigation for acts of espionage

The Merardo Arce Command-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army (MAC-SMROC-NPA) declares that seven  personnel of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) are currently under various distinct contexts and nature of custody and confinement by its guerilla platoons and companies in the region and in adjacent provinces.

They were disarmed of high-powered rifles and handguns during a legitimate military operation by the NPA in Kitaotao, Bukidnon last 21 July, and in Lingig town in Surigao del Sur last 6 August.

When the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) portray the taking of prisoners of war (POWs) as “kidnapping”, and the taking into custody of either an armed personnel belonging to a party to an armed conflict or one who is facing criminal charges to face investigation for various criminal offenses and serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law as “hostaging”, they not only reveal a sheer ignorance of International Humanitarian Law but also a state of extreme anxiety. The former is due to their predilection to fascism and black propaganda; the latter to mounting failures in the face of the ever-rising political and military capabilities of the armed revolutionary forces in spite of the US imperialist-crafted counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya of the previous regime and the sugar-coated Oplan Bayanihan of the current Aquino government.

But notwithstanding the GPH’s lies and distortions, the NPA is determined to fulfill its task to hit the enemy who harm the interests of the people, to take POWs as a legitimate act during an armed conflict and to undertake these actions in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the NPA policy of humane and lenient treatment of its POWs, and the legal and judicial system of the People’s Democratic Government.

First is the case involving the four GPH personnel who were taken into custody in the course of the operation to effect the release of Dennis Rodenas.

The NPA has accorded a prisoner-of-war status to Philippine National Police (PNP) Officer, Jail Inspector Murphy B. Todyog (PNPA Class 2008), PNP Officer/Jail Inspector Eric D. Llamasares (jail warden, PNPA Class 2007), Special Jail Officer 2 Rogelio E. Begontes, and Jail Officer 1 Rolando D. Bajuyo Jr.

Under international conventions, the POW status is a protective status that guarantees the recognition and full respect of the POW’s basic rights. But the POW status is without prejudice to the possibility of filing criminal charges against any one of them before the people’s court, if so determined in the process of the investigation which is still ongoing in the case of these four POWs. This is on the basis of possible complicity to violations of human rights and IHL in the conduct of their role in the operations of the armed security machinery of the reactionary government.

The aforementioned GPH personnel will enjoy their rights as POWs as long as they are not formally charged of any criminal offense before the People’s Court.

The ongoing military offensive operations of the 8th Infantry Battalion, 57th Infantry Battalion and 61st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in the municipalities of Kitaotao and Kibawe in Bukidnon province and in Arakan, North Cotabato, will only succeed in disrupting the process being undertaken by their custodial unit, the Herminio Alfonso Command of Guerilla Front 53.

The second concerns GPH municipal mayor Henry Dano of Lingig, Surigao del Sur.

He was disarmed and taken into custody in order to subject him to an investigation to determine his individual liability with respect to complaints lodged against him before the People’s Court for various armed hostile acts against the revolutionary forces. The charges point to Mayor Dano’s direct and indirect, overt and covert participation in armed hostilities waged by the AFP, PNP and their intelligence and paramilitary units against the NPA.

Foremost of these acts are his maintenance of a private armed group and engaging in intelligence gathering against the revolutionary forces in Guerilla Front 20, in conjunction with the 4th Infantry Division intelligence operations of the AFP.

He will also be questioned about his frontline participation in AFP military work like recruitment for the Philippine Army, and recruitment of the paramilitary CAFGU, among others.

On its face, these are functions and tasks already outside the domain of his work as a civilian functionary of a local GPH unit. While undergoing the pertinent processes of the People’s Court, Mayor Dano is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt as is the judicial tenet of the People’s Court. There should be no worry about his safety and security while in custody, except when the GPH and its military, police and paramilitary forces launch face-saving rescue operations, which are in fact already underway now.

The third is that of Philippine Army Corporal Alrey Villasis Desamparado (Serial No. 832272) and Private First Class Allan Pelino (Serial No 846458), both of the 75th Infantry Battalion’s Intelligence Section.

Under cover as “bodyguards” and “escorts” of Mayor Dano, they are actually intelligence operatives of the 4th Infantry Division-PA-AFP. Documentary evidence taken from them confirm their S2 (intelligence) status, designation, task, functions and records. Whether they may or may not be accorded the POW status will be in accordance with Article 46, Section II of Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions.

The appropriate processes that have been and will be undertaken relative to these seven GPH personnel which are currently under distinct contexts and nature of custody are all in line with the cause of revolutionary justice, governed by the laws of the People’s Democratic Government, and in accordance with international rules of war.

(Sgd) Rigoberto F. Sanchez
Spokesperson, Merardo Arce Command
Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command
New People’s Army

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