A month after the New People’s Army captured five soldiers in Paquibato District, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines Southern Mindanao said its “Revolutionary Court “is reviewing the cases of the captives as thoroughly as possible” so that the latter’s “direct culpability “ or “innocence” is “meticulously established.”
In a letter addressed to the families of the soldiers, NDF Southern Mindanao spokesperson Rubi del Mundo assured them that captured soldiers Corporal Emmanuel Quezon (serial no. 827510), Pfc. Vernie Padilla (SN 898234), Pvt. Marteniano Pasigas (SN 901766), Pfc. Ronald Gura (SN 898248), and Pfc. Donato Estandian (SN 893670) are being treated well.
Del Mundo said the five bear the status of Prisoners of War and are accorded their rights for humane treatment and respect of their rights under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, an agreement signed by the Philippine government and the communist NDF.
The NDF spokesperson explained that the five are undergoing investigation for “violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that they may have committed in the course of implementing the US-Aquino regime’s Oplan Bayanihan.”
The NDF letter said that as part of the Philippine Army, the five are “responsible for implementing orders that have resulted in hurting innocent civilians in the areas where they have been deployed. They are part of the reengineered special operations teams who are responsible for the psychological warfare of peasant masses.”
The five soldiers were captured by the NPA’s First Pulang Bagani Battalion last June 17 in Bangkaan, Paquibato Proper village, this city.
Del Mundo also called on the government to stop its rescue operations in Paquibato, Marilog, Calinan and Buhangin districts in Davao City, and in the towns of Carmen and Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte.
The families were also asked to cooperate. “Any dialogue or opportunity for communication between us would be most welcome,” said Del Mundo.