GENERAL SANTOS C ITY – The mother and sister of Pfc. Khen Subere today (June 5) appealed to both the New People’s Army and the Philippine Army to agree to a suspension of military operation to facilitate the release of the 26-year old soldier who was seized by the rebels close to 2 months ago.
In a tearful plea, Lucia Subere said her son went missing after he left a relative’s house in Tboli, South Cotabato. He was last seen on April 11.
On Tuesday, June 2, the New People’s Army in Far South Mindanao announced it is holding Subere captive and a prisoner of war (POW).
Ka Alejandro Magiting, spokesperson of the NPA rebel’s Mt. Daguma Operational command, said in a press statement that “Subere was arrested while conducting civic military operations within a guerrilla zone” on April 12.
Magiting did not explain why it took more than 50 days before they made the announcement.
Lucia Subere said they have also sought the help of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in negotiating for the release of her son.
“Motabang daw siya,” Lucia told the local media here.(He will help)
The Suberes are from Carmen, Davao del Norte.
Duterte has been approached by families of soldiers and policemen captured by NPAs for his ability to convince the rebels to release their captives.
But Fr. Raul Valle, who was contacted by the NPA rebels, said military operations and rebel processes prevented the early release of Subere.
“Niingon man sila (rebels) na ilang i-release,” the Catholic priest said.(The rebels said they will release him)
Subere’s sister Khlaunden also appealed to the rebels to free her brother who, she said, is supporting her studies.
Khlaunden is fourth year in college and will graduate this school year.
“Siya lang gapa-eskuwela sa ako,” the 19-year old Khlaunden cried.(He is paying for my studies)
She said Pfc Subere went home a week before he was seized by the rebels.
According to fellow soldiers, Pfc. Subere reportedly left their headquarters in Maasim, Sarangani on April 11 to withdraw from his ATM. It was not clear why he ended up in Tboli, South Cotabato.
The Suberes checked Landbank if withdrawals were made on his ATM accounts.
They were told that the account of Subere was intact and that no withdrawals were made on April 11.
The Suberes are worried the military will not exert efforts for the safe release of Khen after Lt. Col. Roland Alcudia declared the embattled solider AWOL (absent without official leave).
In an earlier interview, Alcudia said Subere was declared AWOL on April 13, the day after he went missing.
Subere was also dropped from the rolls on April 23, Alcudia added.
Alcudia however said they still need to investigate the circumstances behind the earlier disappearance of the soldier.
He admitted that they had no idea where Subere was until the NPA claimed he is in the custody of the rebels.
But Fr. Valle said until Subere returns safely to his family and gives his story, he is considered captive of the rebels.
“He is a victim of circumstances,” Fr. Valle said.
Fr. Valle, along with Bishop Redeemer Yañez and Rev. Allen Veloso of the Exodus for Justice and Peace, appealed to the military to immediately suspend operations to facilitate the orderly and safe release of Subere.