5 cops in NPA custody air appeal in video messages PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 April 2016 11:58

Communist rebels on Sunday released video clips of five police officers they captured last week in the outskirt of Davao City.

The five separate video clips received by Daily Zamboanga Times through email showed Chief Insp. Leonardo V. Tarungoy, PO3 Rosenie L. Cabuenas, PO3 Rudolf Y. Pacete, PO2 Neil C. Arellano, and PO3 Abdul Azis A. Ali Jr. assuring their families that they are safe and being treated well by the New People’s Army (NPA),  the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

“I am Police Chief Inspector Leonardo Valdesco Tarungoy, with badge number 1017802, Station Commander under Police Station 7 of Paquibato, Malabog, Davao City. I am appealing for my family to not worry, to my children, Baby, Didi, Leonard, don’t worry for I am doing fine here. I am safe. They treat us well. They treat us as human beings. To my relatives, my in-laws, I’m appealing to you to not worry about our situation here. We are fine here. I am also sending my greetings to my youngest who is celebrating your birthday. Celebrate your birthday and be happy, because we’re also happy here. Don’t begrudge or despair that I am not there. What’s important is that we’re safe and secure, and they are taking care of us here,” said Tarungoy in video voice clip.

The New People’s Army Regional Operations Command Southern Mindanao released the video messages taken from the five “Prisoners of War” who are under the custody of the 1st Pulang Bagani Battalion-NPA since April 16, 2016.

“The obstinate and aggressive stance of the AFP’s 84th Battalion-10th ID-Eastern Mindanao Command, PNP and the US-Aquino regime in addressing the capture of Police Chief Inspector Leonardo V. Tarungoy, PO3 Rosenie L. Cabuenas, PO3 Rudolf Y. Pacete, PO2 Neil C. Arellano, and PO3 Abdul Azis A. Ali Jr., is posing grave and major risks in the lives of the (POWs),”  said Rigoberto F. Sanchez, spokesperson of the NPA-SMR Regional Operations Command, in a statement.

In the attached transcript and video messages, the five POWs appealed for the cessation of the military operations and suspension of police operations amid Philippines military offensive in Paquibato district, the latest of which was the April 18 bombing, airstrike, and ground operations in the area that nearly hurt and killed them, according to Sanchez.        The NPA spokesperson called on the next president for the resumption of the peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front, the CPP’s political front,  and the Government of the Philippines to expedite their early release.

“The arrest and capture of prisoners by the NPA is a legitimate act of war and in fact, a humane act when compared to the extreme torture or summary killings by AFP troops upon capturing Red fighters or brutal incarceration under trumped-up charges of political prisoners.  Yet, instead of negotiating the political and legal bases toward the safe and appropriate procedure for the release of the five POWs, the GPH has used the capture of these police officers as a pretext to carry out indiscriminate bombardments and military operations that attain nothing but the escalation of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the hinterland villages in Davao City,” Sanchez said.

He added there is no truth to the outrageous claim of police spokesperson Wilben Mayor that the prisoners of war are being kept in “makeshift animal cages,” imputing that they are non-combatants who are victims of a criminal act of abduction.

I am PO3 Rosenie L. Cabuenas, badge number 113478. I call on my family, my children, my wife to not worry about us because they treat us well here and provide us with our needs, especially my maintenance (medicines). Let’s just pray that our release will not take long, and do not fret because our lives are safe and secured here. To my wife, hon, don’t worry because we’ll be released soon,” another captured police officer said in another video voice clip.

“While the conditions of war necessitate that the NPA custodial force secure and neutralize the capability of POWs to inflict harm to revolutionary forces, the NPA abides with war protocols even in the face of relentless military pursuit. Humane and lenient treatment of POWs is a hallmark of NPA’s custody of its captives.

“The five police officers are combatants who have fallen into the power of the New People’s Army.  The Geneva Conventions stipulate that members of the armed forces of a party to the armed conflict are combatants. Only medical personnel and religious chaplains covered by the Third Geneva Convention (art. 33) are exempted. Thus, the NPA rightfully captured Tarungoy and the four other police officers who responded to the NPA raid in the 72nd Infantry Battalion CAA detachment on April 16 in Sitio Quimanao, Brgy. Salapawan, Paquibato District.”