NPA frees POW PO3 Sabatin, slams AFP/PNP ceasefire violations

Despite the intensified AFP operations before and even during the week-long ceasefire, the safety and well-being of POW Sabatin were ensured inside the territories of the People's Democratic Government.

By ROEL AGUSTIN II
Spokesman, Conrado Heredia Command
Front 20 Operations Command
New People's Army-Southern Mindanao

On the occasion of the renewed round of peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH, formerly Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the Conrado Heredia Command-Front 20 Operations Command of the New People's Army in Southern Mindanao has released today NPA Prisoner of War Police Officer 3 Jorge Sabatin with Badge No. 146981. He is a member of the 1403rd Police Provincial Mobile Group of the Philippine National Police.

The order to release POW PO3 Sabatin was issued by the Merardo Arce Command-Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command-NPA after revolutionary authorities completed its investigation that concluded that PO3 Sabatin has no direct culpability nor serious rights violations to the revolutionary movement and the people.

The order to release POW PO3 Sabatin was also issued as an act of goodwill for the formal resumption of the GPH-NDFP peace talks.

POW PO3 Sabatin's release today ends his 18-day detention after he surrendered to the Red Army in a successful raid and disarming operation on 1 February of a PNP extortion outpost in Barangay Pulang Lupa, Trento, Agusan del Sur.

Sustaining splinter wounds from the firefight, POW PO3 Sabatin was immediately provided medical attention by the Red fighters. As a member of the abusive and mercenary police force of the reactionary government, POW PO3 Sabatin has been found to have no direct hand in the commission of gross human rights violations. His participation in the extortion activities to benefit Agusan del Sur Governor Edward Adolph "Eddie Bong" Plaza is a misplaced sense of duty common in most foot soldiers and ordinary policemen of the US-Aquino regime.

During his detention, PO3 Sabatin recounted how he became one of the policemen detailed at the Pulang Lupa PNP outpost and that the crux of their armed presence was evidently as mercenary goons protecting the lucrative logging extortion enterprise of Gov. Plaza. A typical policeman, POW PO3 Sabatin was used as a pawn of the reactionary state's mercenary and corrupt AFP/PNP hierarchy.

The CHC-NPA undertakes this safe and orderly release today in the face of combat operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the areas of Compostela Valley Province, parts of Agusan del Sur and Davao Oriental in clear violation of the GPH-NDFP week-long mutual ceasefire declaration. His reunion with his family could have been effected much earlier had the AFP/PNP heeded the calls of his family and well-meaning individuals to cease their futile and failed combat operations to make way for his earlier release.

Amid calls for the suspension of offensive military operations, the AFP-PNP went on with their doomed "rescue" operations punctuated by the disastrous 11 February misencounter between separate AFP and PNP columns in Sitio Cogonon, Barangay Salvacion in Trento, where at least two enemy troops were killed and another two wounded.

The safe and orderly release of PO3 Sabatin today has only proven the futility of the so-called AFP/PNP "rescue" missions. Despite the intensified AFP operations before and even during the week-long ceasefire, the safety and well-being of POW Sabatin were ensured inside the territories of the People's Democratic Government. The NPA has once again proven its principled adherence to international covenants and war protocols.

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