TWO Philippine Army Divisions, the 4th and 10th Infantry Division, are in close coordination with each other as they have continued manhunt against the killers of Loreto, Agusan del Sur Mayor Dario Otaza and son Daryl.
Major General Rafael Valencia, commander of the 10th ID, said since the 4th ID's area of responsibility is adjacent to his division's AOR, it is highly possible that those responsible for the abduction and eventual murder of the Otazas are already in its area.
The victims were abducted by members of the New People's Army in the evening of October 19 in their residence in Butuan City which is within the 4th ID AOR. Few hours after, the victims' bodies were discovered hogtied and riddled with bullets.
The NPA's Southern Mindanao Regional Command recently admitted being behind the death of the Otazas whom they accused of being warlords and druglords. The accusation was however dismissed by the family and the military.
Valencia said the manhunt against Otaza killers has continued.
The Philippine National Police meanwhile identified one of the 18 suspects as a certain "Rene Tindogan" of Front Committee 34 of the communist-New People's Army (NPA) of the Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee.
The NPA meanwhile sought the help of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the return of the P25,000 cash the rebels recovered from the possession of the Otazas during the abduction.
Rigoberto F. Sanchez, spokesperson of the NPA's Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command said they are duty-bound to return any personal item or belongings without any military value.
Sanchez said the decision was in adherence to NPA's internal code of discipline and the rules and customs of war stipulated in the international humanitarian law.
The money is set to be turned over to the Otaza family through Duterte who is also the chair of the Regional Peace and Order and Council (RPOC).