NPA rebels in Agusan attack yet to be sued

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Thursday, July 17, 2014


AUTHORITIES of the Agusan del Sur have yet to file charges against the New People's Army (NPA) members who attacked the armed group of a lumad Calpito Egua, and encountered the security forces in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur on Tuesday.

Police Regional Office (PRO) in Caraga Region deputy regional director for Operations Senior Superintendent Pedro Obaldo, in a phone interview Thursday, said the police and military will file the charges against the rebels once they have completed the necessary documents and evidences on the incident.

"Actually, nasa preparation phase pa kami ngayon. We will file the charges pag na kompleto na ang mga documents and evidences na pina-process pa namin ngayon, tinitignan din namin if sinu-sino yung mga involved sa insidente," Obaldo said.

Obaldo said authorities are set to file charges of frustrated and multiple murder, malicious mischief, abduction/kidnapping and illegal detention, violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (Carhrihl), Human Rights and the Rule of Law.

At least 70 heavily armed NPA rebels in fatigue uniforms attacked the house of miner Datu Calpito Egua, a Manobo and a former NPA member, in Barangay Sta. Irene in Prosperidad. Egua, known as Datu Calpit is also an anti-insurgency advocate. He was reportedly wounded in the attack.

National Democratic Front in Northeast Mindanao Region spokesperson Maria Malaya, in an e-mailed statement to the media, earlier admitted the first attack at the armed group of Datu Calpit in Sta. Irene. She added that they also targeted Datu's companions in La Purisima and another bandit in Bitan-agan.

Malaya said the private armies were put-up with the help of the local government units, army and police so that Calpit can control the mining area of Manhulayan in Surigao del Sur and all of them could make a profit out of it.

"When Calpit became a warlord, he seized the area of other lumad and other mining businessmen. He was able to enlarge his private army to 60 [members] so he could expand and strengthen his logging and mining in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur," Malaya said, adding that the attack was to serve justice.

Malaya also said based on their initial report, the attack on Egua resulted to the death of 10 Red fighters and a civilian driver of the pick-up truck recovered on the incident while another NPA fighter was killed in the government forces' attack against the NPA's blocking force in Barangay Hamogaway in Bayugan City.

Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) spokesperson Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, in an interview after a press conference at Royal Mandaya Hotel on Wednesday, belied the claims of NDF that Egua's men were members of the private army.

Read related story: AFP denies backing tribe head’s ‘private army’

Paniza said Egua and his men didn't want to leave their territory, thus, they decided to fight against the rebels.

Paniza said Egua applied for their firearms license but they didn't bring these outside their house as the purpose of their firearms was only to defend their community from any threat.

Paniza added that such attack [perpetrated by the NPA rebels] against the lumad community was a clear "act of terror" against civilian communities. He also said the NPA deserve to be charged for their several violations.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 18, 2014.

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