New People’s Army releases Lingig town mayor Jimmy Luna, 4 POWs

Revolutionary political authority asserted and upheld in guerilla territories

ROEL AGUSTIN II, Spokesman
Conrado Heredia Command
NPA-Southern Mindanao

The People's Democratic Government in Guerilla Front 20 has ordered the release of detainee Lingig town mayor Roberto "Jimmy" Luna Jr. on account of his voluntary admission of culpability and issuance of a public apology in relation to the various crimes for which he stands accused of in the revolutionary People's Court. The Merardo Arce Command-New People's Army has likewise directed the Camp for the Administration of Detainees of the Conrado Heredia Command-NPA to release the four Prisoners of War (POW) who are elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

The release of Luna and the 4 POWs is also being undertaken as a humanitarian consideration to the appeals made by their respective families and friends, and various individuals and groups who made representations on their behalf.

Luna has admitted his culpability in maintaining a large private armed group consisting of AFP and PNP elements and hired goons. He employed this private armed group in furtherance of his political and economic interests, and in the process violated the human rights of the masses. The People's Court shall further investigate Luna's involvement in the following cases:

  1. The murders of former Lingig Mayor Amerosin V. Onsing in 2001, and the Suazo brothers in Barangay Union last 2007;

  2. Land-grabbing of 30-hectare peasant lands in Barangay Pagbacatan and in Dahican Island;

  3. Engaging in environmentally destructive logging;

  4. Human rights violations;

  5. Embezzlement of the people's money.

Despite Luna's release from detention, the legal and judicial procedures in connection with these cases will continue; only his custodial detention is terminated. As for the four POWs, the investigation shall be suspended.

The NPA and the revolutionary masses enjoin Luna to desist from doing acts inimical to the interest of the people, particularly peasants and lumads, respect their political, economic, social and other human rights and make amends to those whom he had done injustice to.

The release from custody of Luna and the four POWs shall in no way mean that the People's Democratic Government, its People's Court as well as the NPA will not undertake justifiable courses of action in the event that Luna and Pfc John Rey Abao, Pfc Arnel Dizon, P02 Boy de Castro, P03 Alan Dapitanon commit fascist acts and crimes against the people, the revolutionary movement and the environment.

During their detention, the NPA custodial unit strictly adhered to the international humanitarian law, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines; the NPA's Three Basic Rules of Discipline and Eight Points of Attention towards the four POWs; and the rules of the People's Democratic Government governing the arrest and detention of civilians facing criminal cases before the People's Court. The detainees were provided with utmost medical care, security, food and other basic necessities under guerilla conditions inside the territory of the People's Democratic Government.

The safe and orderly release of Mayor Luna and the four POWs once more humiliates the 10th Infantry Division-Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP, and exposes their long talk about so-called rescue operations as mere empty boasts, ending in utter failure in the same way that its national security plan Oplan Bantay Laya was frustrated and defeated by the revolutionary resistance of the people and their revolutionary army.

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