By Ka Oris
On 14 April 2013, elements of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) Danny Sevillejo, 27, Evangeline Cabodbod,31, and Leonardo Sevillejo, 63, were captured at Sitio Greenfield, Barangay (village) Sta. Juana, Tagbina, Surigao del Sur, and were all taken under the custody of a unit of the New People’s Army under Front 14. Preliminary investigation was immediately undertaken to ascertain whether they have committed serious or criminal offenses against the people and the revolutionary movement.
On 15 April 2013, when a unit of the NPA under Front 18 mounted a checkpoint at Don Alejandro, San Luis, Agusan del Sur, four CAFGU elements, namely Mario “Tata” Lepanda of San Pedro, San Luis, Agusan del Sur, 36, married and 10 years in service; Toloy Lepanda, also of San Pedro, 34 (he was only 14 when he was recruited into the CAFGU); Rejoy Francisco of Mahayahay, 23; and, alias Janjan (not his real name) of Km. 41 Binicalan, 17. Preliminary investigation was also conducted.
On 16 April, the political authority in both Fronts 14 and 88 immediately submitted separately to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Mindanao the results of their preliminary investigation, and at the same time, their recommendation for the release of the so named prisoners of wars (POWs) based on the following:
For not having committed any serious offense against the people and the revolution;
For having sworn never again to commit their minor offenses, and to take steps to rectify their mistakes;
Humanitarian reasons; and
For having exhibited good behaviour during detention.
The NDFP-Mindanao concurred with these recommendations, and with such, ordered the custodial forces of Front 14 and Front 88 to immediately release the respective POWs after having educated them, and commit to never repeat their minor offenses again.
On 17 April, Front 14 and Front 88 separately undertook the release of seven (7) prisoners of war.
The release of four CAFGUs in Front 88 was attended by representatives and officials from the local government unit, religious, other personalities and the media. Under safe conditions, the POWs were turned over to them, including the minor.
The release of the three CAFGUs in Front 14 was witnessed by Gov. Johnny Pimentel and other officials of the LGU, the religious, local personalities and the media. The turn-over ended successfully with no untoward incidents.
There are still two POWs, namely Police Officer 1 Ronal Allan Munez and PO1 Nemuel D. Espana, who remain under the custody of an NPA Unit in Front 03 in Southern Mindanao Region. The two are still under the process of preliminary investigation.
The detention, investigation and release of these prisoners of war show the politico-military capability of the revolutionary forces in the different regions in Mindanao. These prove not only the capacity of the NPA, the Communist Party of the Philippines, and the NDFP to undertake such action, but more so the widespread and solid support of the masses toward the revolutionary movement in the island.
These events also expose the vulnerability in the deployment of forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police and CAFGU when they were clearly unable to counteract any of the tactical offensives launched by the NPA. The most that the AFP and the PNP could do was to brush off these NPA-led military actions as a “desperate show of force.” But in truth, this is a huge blow against the capability of both the AFP and the PNP, especially in its glaring failure to defend its imperialist multinational masters, such as Dole and Del Monte, which are responsible for destroying the environment and the oppression and exploitation of workers, peasants and the Lumads.