THE EASTERN Mindanao Command is pursuing the communist guerillas who abducted two soldiers and three police officers following road blockades in Barangay Lower Olave, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Speaking on Wednesday’s AFP-PNP press conference held at Garden Oases Ritz Hotel, Capt. Roda Leoncito, spokesperson of EastMinCom, told reporters that they have no clear intel yet on the whereabouts of the New People’s Army rebels.
“But we are also in close coordination with the PNP to file appropriate charges against the perpetrators,” she said.
The EastMinCom also condemned the road blockades set-up by the NPA on Sunday .
“Their action of setting up a road blocks in Barangay Rojales, Carmen, Agusan Del Norte, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon and Talisayan, Misamis Oriental are forms of intimidation and coercion victimizing people,” Leoncito said.
“The conduct of a roadblock is a desperate move after the NPA’s series of setbacks as a result of law enforcement operations and withdrawal of support of a number of their members and supporters in Northern and Southern Mindanao,” she added.
Reportedy, a grade 5 student, the son of a police officer, was also handcuffed by rebels but was later released.
Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of 4th Infantry Division, said Pfc. Glen R. Austria and Pfc. Devin A. Tawide of the 23rd Infantry Battalion was onboard a motorcycle traveling the provincial road heading to the headquarters at Barangay Rizal in Buenavista.
They were flagged down by more or less 20 members of Guerilla Front 4A.
Prior to the incident, a police officer was also abducted by alleged rebels in Barangay Mandahilig, Talisayan in Misamis Oriental at 6:20 p.m.
According to Martinez, around 30 NPAs, believed to be members of the Guerilla Front 4, were wearing military uniforms and holding high-powered weapons while conducting a checkpoint in the area.
Reportedly, SPO4 Rene Rombo from Kinoguitan Municipal Police Station was abducted while SPO1 Gilbert Agiman from Giingoog Police Station was disarmed.
“According to the chief of police of Medina in Misamis Oriental, Agiman and his son were able to escape,” he said.
SPO1 Warren Conales was also abducted in Sitio Patulangan in Barangay Capitan Bayong in Impasugong town. The rebels also took away his .9mm firearm.
PO3 Edwin Panis Castor, assigned in Wao Police Station, was also captured along with a retired police Orlando Magamay but was released due to his poor health condition.
Prior to the abduction, troops of the 23rd IB clashed with fleeing rebels who were reported to have conducted extortion activities along the highway of Barangay Rojales Carmen at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
The 10-minute clash occurred at the outskirts of Sitio Tagaytay ,Barangay Sangay and vicinity of Barangay Olave. Before the NPAs withdrew, they took the policeman as hostage.
Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal Jr., the division commander, said what the rebels did was plain kidnapping.
“They will be facing charges as stated under Sec. 2, Art. 267 of the constitution,” he said. “Any private individual who shall kidnap or detain another shall suffer the penalty of reclusion temporal in its maximum period.”