GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The communist-led New People’s Army claimed it is holding an army soldier in custody after he was ‘arrested” in Tboli, South Cotabato almost two months ago.
Alejandro Magiting, spokesman of the NPA-Far South Mindanao Region Sub-Regional Operational Command, said Pfc Khen R. Subere was arrested on April 12 while “conducting civic military operations within (our) guerrilla zone.”
The NPA made the announcement only on Tuesday, June 2.
Subere is a member of the 27th Infantry Battalion which headquarters is located in Tupi, South Cotabato.
Lt. Col. Ronald Alcudia, commanding officer of the 27th Infantry Battalion, however declared Subere an AWOL (absent without official leave) when they lost contact with the Army man on April 13, the day after he was abducted by the rebels.
“Subere was dropped from the roster of troops effective 23,” Alcudia said in a statement.
The Army man reportedly expressed “interest to discontinue his military service” even before he went missing, according to the Army official.
But Alcudia said they will exert efforts to work with law enforcement authorities and Subere’s family to locate the missing soldier.
He said Subere will be investigated for his ‘unauthorized’ disappearance.
The NPAs are demanding a suspension of military operations in South Cotabato to facilitate the release of Subere who they said has not committed “crimes against the people.”
“The Mt. Daguma SROC assures the family and loved ones of POW Subere that he is being accorded with his right to due process and humane treatment while in detention in keeping with the CPP – NPA’s legacy in abiding by international humanitarian laws,” the NPA further said.
Subere’s abduction is the first case of the NPAs in the region taking a ‘prisoner of war’ (POW) since 2001.
The NPA rebels under the Valentin Palamine Command seized Rosete and the three alleged military assets — Herminia Sorongon, Wifredo Maldecir and Pepito Simbulan — on September 4, 2001, in barangay Datal Blao in Columbio , Sultan Kudarat.
The rebels later executed the four captives after the government refused to negotiate with the NPAs.
Their remains were exhumed in April 2005.