Ex-councilor's family to sue rebel group for kidnap-A A +A
Saturday, April 16, 2011
KIDAPAWAN CITY -- The relatives of a former village official who was among those abducted Thursday in North Cotabato will file criminal charges against suspected communist rebels, a military official said.
Charges would include serious illegal detention and kidnapping under Articles 267 of the Revised Penal Code, said Lieutenant Manuel Gatus, chief of the civil military operations of the 57th Infantry Battalion.
Gatus said they already readied the statements of some of the witnesses, including family members of Eliory Lastimosa, former councilor of Barangay Datu Puas Inda in President Rojas town.
He, however, refused to divulge the identities of the suspects.
Lastimosa, together with 57th IB soldiers Corporal Delfin Sarocam and Private First Class Jayson Valenzuela, was on his way to Sitio Dalinding, Barangay Datu Puas Inda to conduct consultative-dialogue with the villagers, mostly indigenous peoples, when waylaid by the rebels.
Authorities believe the rebels were members of the Herminio Alfonso Command Front 53 of the New Peoples' Army (NPA).
The suspects took Lastimosa, Sarocam and Valenzuela to their satellite headquarters somewhere in Arakan and Antipas towns, both in North Cotabato.
The Army said it is set to submit report to the government panel tasked to talk peace with the National Democratic Front (NDF), as the abduction issue "ruined" confidence-building, especially on the part of the National Government.
Gatus said they cannot allow any criminality continue while GRP-NDF talks were ongoing.
He said the Army has already intensified their manhunt of the group responsible for the abduction.
"This is a criminal offense perpetrated by the communist terrorists," he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 16, 2011.