Military called to halt rescue mission for ailing soldier-A A +A
Saturday, November 27, 2010
DAVAO CITY -- A communist rebel group said over the weekend that it will only release the ailing soldier it seized in Compostela Valley province last week if the military rescue operations cease.
Army Corporal Daiem Hadjaie remains in the hands of New People's Army (NPA) rebels who seized him last November 16 in Sitio Mabatas, Upper Ulip in Monkayo, Compostela Valley.
Hadjaie was on his way to a hospital for treatment of his severe stomach ache when the rebels took him as their prisoner-of-war.
"Experience has shown that none of these so-called rescue missions has ever succeeded in the past and could only endanger the lives of prisoners of war," said NPA spokesman Roel Agustin II in a released statement.
Agustin called on the Army's 10th Infantry Division of the Eastern Mindanao Command to abort its rescue missions for Hadjaie to pave the way for his possible safe and orderly release.
Hadjaie, a Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) integree in the military, is undergoing investigation by the rebel group for possible crimes he might have committed against the people and the revolutionary movement during his service under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The statement said Hadjaie is now under the custody of the rebel group's Conrado Heredia Command-Front 20 Operations Command.
Lieutenant Colonel Medel Aguilar, spokesman of the Army's 10th ID, however, downplayed the rebel demand.
"That's exactly how terrorists negotiate with authorities in hostage-taking scenarios. We cannot leave anyone in the hands of terrorists. As a brotherly advice, the NPA members should release Corporal Hadjaie immediately to reduce the guilt they feel and ease the burden of living with a troubled conscience because of the crime and sin they committed," Aguilar said.
Earlier, Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and the MNLF called for the release of Hadjaie from the hands of his rebel captors.
Duterte said the soldier is sick and that the NPA rebels must give due consideration for his freedom since he was not captured during an encounter.
"Unless you want a dead soldier in your hands of whom you did not capture during a firefight, you rather release him," Duterte said.
The MNLF had also appealed to the NPA to release Hadjaei, saying the captive "is a symbol of the peace process" being an MNLF integree.
It was suspected that Hadjaie is suffering from liver problem based on his colleagues' observation of the yellow discoloration of his skin. Aside from his illness, the victim's wife is also due to give birth.
"You release him... short of a demand, you release the soldier because he is ill," Duterte said, as he stressed that his captivity might aggravate his health condition.
He also dared to take the soldier personally from his captors in the mountains if the rebel movement would not yield to his demand immediately.
"Whether you like it or not, I will take him with me because he is ill," Duterte said. (BOT of Sun.Star Davao/PR/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on November 28, 2010.