BUTUAN CITY -- The New People’s Army (NPA) claimed responsibility for the abduction of three police officers and a civilian in the town of Malimono, Surigao del Norte, on Saturday afternoon, July 23.
The Regional Police Office (PRO)-Caraga identified the three abducted police officers as Senior Police Officer 3 Santiago Lamanilao, from the Surigao City Police Office, Police Officer (PO)3 Jayroll Bagayas and PO2 Caleb Sinaca, both from the Malimono Municipal Police Station together with non-uniformed personnel (NUP) Rodrigo Angob.
According to Ka Oto, spokesperson of Guerilla Front 16 of the NPA, they only intended to capture Sinaca.
“The incident happened around 2:30 p.m. in Barangay Cagtinae. The intended target was supposed to be PO2 Sinaca to answer for the crimes he has committed. Unfortunately, since he was together with the two other police officers and the NUP, the team opted to capture all of them. They are now our prisoners of war,” said Oto.
Oto pointed out that Sinaca has been in their list after several complaints reached them from the community.
“Sinaca is the son of the barangay chair of Barangay Pili who has several issues as well. We believe that PO2 Sinaca is linked to the issue on drugs in Malimono as its drug protector. He also is protecting the illegal logging trade in Malimono and extorts money from the town’s small-scale miners. He has also threatened and harassed the peasants working for his father, Dario Sinaca,” said Oto.
Oto added that since the two other police officers are also in their custody, they will include them in their investigation.
“We have not yet contacted the custodial unit regarding the other police officers and the NUP that are now in their custody, but we will have to create an investigating committee to see if they also have issues with the community. We will follow due process in the decision on what to do with PO2 Sinica,” Oto said.
Police Chief Superintendent Rolando Felix, regional director of PRO-Caraga, made it clear that the abduction of the three police officers and the NUP happened while they were off duty.
“These police officers were abducted while they were invited to attend a pre-fiesta celebration activity in the said barangay. They were caught outside a cockfighting area, but they were not there to participate in the game. Our police personnel responded to the abduction but were too late when they reached the area,” said Felix.
Felix stated that he has ordered a red alert status and that police personnel together with soldiers have been working together in the pursuit of those who abducted the PNP personnel.
Lieutenant Ryan Layug, civil military officer of the Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion operating in the area, confirmed Felix’s statement.
“Troops from the 30IB are now on hot pursuit together with elements of the Regional Public Safety Battalion and the provincial operation team of the Provincial Police Office,” said Layug. (SunStar Cagayan de Oro)