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NPA wants immediate release of 3 comrades nabbed in Rizal province

The New People’s Army on Wednesday demanded the immediate and unconditional release of three fighters who the NPA claimed were illegally arrested by government forces last week in Tanay, Rizal.

A statement by the NPA’s Narciso Antazo Aramil Command (NAAC) said the three, former students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, were arrested on trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Soldiers nabbed Marissa Espidido, 21, Jared Valero Morales, 21, and Hermogenes Reyes, 22, last Oct. 26 near the Army detachment in Sta Ynez village in Tanay town while the three were allegedly waiting for a companion.

According the soldiers, the three yielded two M16 rifles, one with M203 grenade launcher attached on it; a shotgun with 12 live ammunition; 12 M16 magazines with live ammunition; 12 40mm live ammunition; two grenades; and an improvised explosive device.

NPA-NAAC spokesman Macario “Ka Karyo" Liwanag said the three were conducting “community consultations" about the aborted resumption of the peace talks between the communists and t government, which were supposed to be held in Oslo, Norway last Oct. 31, when arrested.

“The three were deprived of their rights to immediately inform their families of their arrest , Instead they were hidden overnight inside a detachment of the 59th IB (Infantry Battalion) and subjected to intense interrogation and torture," said Liwanag.

“Blind folded and hog-tied, they were then taken to the 16th IB headquarters in Pinugay, Baras, Rizal the following day, October 27. There they were once again subjected to more interrogations and harsher torture from the hands of the military," said Liwanag.

Liwanag said that upon learning of the incident, the parents of the three went to see the suspects “but were not allowed to talk or even see the three."

“The three are now facing trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives, and are being held at the Rizal Provincial Jail in Taytay," said Liwanag.

Liwanag called for immediate and unconditional release of the three and for the military to respect human rights and the International Humanitarian Law, in the same way the the NPA extended such privileges the three POWs (P/Insp. Rex Cuntapay, PO1 Albert Umali and PO1 Marvin Agasen) arrested by members of NAAC-NPA-Rizal on 2009.

The three policemen were held captive by the NPA during an ambush in Rodriguez town, Rizal on Jan. 3, 2009. They were released nearly three months later, through negotiations by then Sen. Jamby Madrigal, Rizal Gov. Casimiro Ynares and Bishop Ramon Argueles. —LBG, GMA News
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