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Cop held captive by NPA freed

By: Yas D. Ocampo and Liezle Basa Iñigo

DAVAO CITY – A policeman held captive by the New People’s Army was freed over the weekend in an NPA camp in Davao Oriental.

NPA spokesperson Rubi del Mundo said PO1 Alfredo Sia Basabica Jr. was freed “as an act in the exercise of the political power and authority of the People’s Democratic Government and is undertaken on humanitarian grounds and as an act of clemency and goodwill for the resumption of the peace negotiations between the GPH and the NDFP.”

Basabica, who has been with the Philippine National Police for two years and of Barangay Taytayan, Cateel, Davao Oriental, said he was treated well by his captors.

Del Mundo said that the information on the circumstances of the arrest, as well as the “charges” placed upon Basabica, have been forwarded to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines negotiating panel as attachments to a report sent to the NDFP.

As a result, the charges against Basabica have been dropped and he is no longer considered a prisoner of war.

“This order of release is likewise the NDFP’s favorable response to the widespread appeals of the prisoner’s family and relatives and well-meaning parties and individuals who have expressed support for the negotiated settlement on the issue of prisoner of war within the purview of the CARHRIHL and the Geneva Conventions and Protocol,” Del Mundo said.

Meanwhile, police have recovered the remains of a colleague killed in an encounter in San Nicolas, Pangasinan last Friday.

Police identified the fatality as PO2 Aries Tamondong.

Members of PNP-Police Regional Office 1-Regional Public Safety Battalion, local police, and reinforcements from the Provincial Public Safety Company-Pangasinan have also rescued PO2 Jonielon Maruis Bagcal who was wounded in the encounter.

Tamondong and Bagcal are both members of the RPSB Region 1.

Pangasinan Rep. Christopher de Venecia has condoled with the family and friends of Tamondong.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Police Officer 2 Aries Tamondong of Manaoag, who died Friday during an armed encounter between government troops and New People’s Army rebels in San Nicolas, Pangasinan,” De Venecia said.

“We thank Officer Tamondong for his service and we commend his bravery, his dedication, and his commitment to go above and beyond the call of duty to serve and protect his fellow Pangasinenses.”