Rebel group orders release of Surigao mayor-A A +A
Friday, September 30, 2011
CAGAYAN DE ORO -- Communist rebels ordered Friday the release of Mayor Henry Dano of Lingig town days after he issued apology for maintaining a private armed group that is protecting mining interest in Surigao del Sur.
In a released statement, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said it has made a political decision to suspend the judicial proceedings against Dano "as an affirmative response to his issuance of an apology."
Armed rebels abducted Dano and his two security escorts from his home in Barangay Sabangan, Lingig town on August 6. The rebels also killed a soldier and wounded six others who came to Dano's aid.
The CPP recently released an audio clip of Dano apologizing for his alleged involvement in the building and maintenance of private armed group that is found to be protecting and supporting armed counterrevolutionary program of the government.
The rebel group said the release is also ordered as a "humanitarian consideration to the appeals made by his (Dano's) family and the representations made by well-meaning groups and individuals."
The CPP's Southern Mindanao Regional Party Committee said the order is a "unilateral exercise of revolutionary political authority by the CPP as the ruling party of the People's Democratic Government."
The communist group said the "People's Court", which ordered the arrest of Dano on the strength of the cases filed against him has correspondingly suspended the legal and judicial processes applied to the mayor.
"The legal and judicial proceedings against accused Mayor Dano has been suspended by the People’s Court to correspond to the political decision coursed through the pertinent regional organ of the People’s Democratic Government," the CPP statement stated.
However, the group added that should Dano thereafter continue to commit the acts that were the bases for the charges leveled against him, and/or should he commit new crimes or that additional evidence and circumstances warrant or supervene, "he may again be subjected to arrest and the legal and judicial proceedings shall forthwith resume."
The CPP added that the revolutionary movement finds the mayor's expressions of remorse "as a self-criticism and a constructive desire to be given an opportunity to make amends for and rectify his previous acts for which he was arrested and placed under the judicial custody of the People’s Court.”
Prior to Dano's "arrest" on August 6, a case was filed against him for building and maintaining a private armed group in connivance with military officers of the 75th Infantry Battalion and in conjunction with the counter revolutionary intelligence operations of the 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.
Dano was also charged with specific serious violations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, its particular circumstances among others, in connivance with the 75th IB-4th ID against victim-peasants of several barangays in Lingig, Surigao del Sur and in the adjacent barangays of Boston, Davao Oriental.
Dano was also charged with particular acts of building a private armed group, murder, intelligence-gathering, harassment, grave threats and coercion as criminal acts, violating the rights and status of the civilian population as provided for in the Bill of Rights in the Guide for Establishing the People's Democratic Government, the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, and of international human rights law.
The Southern Mindanao Regional Committee of the CPP ordered the Merardo Arce Command Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command of the New People's Army (NPA) to carry out the safe and orderly release of Dano.
It was also given the responsibility to carry out his expeditious release from custody to his family through the intercession of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the independent humanitarian mission.
However, CPP added that the release procedures shall be subject to the NPA custodial unit's appraisal of security considerations to ensure the safety of Dano, his family, the custodial unit and all those participating in the release. (Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 01, 2011.