From the Sun Star-Davao (May 17): Call for release of NPA leader slammed
THE 1003rd Infantry Brigade (IBge) slammed a human rights group for seeking the release of the wounded high-ranking leader of the New People's Army (NPA) who is facing multiple charges for perpetrating several atrocities in Southern Mindanao.
In a press forum at the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) conference room Wednesday, May 16, 1003rd IBge commander Brigadier General Ernesto Torres assured the public they will uphold the rule of law and will give humane treatment to the arrested leader identified as Elizalde Cañete alias Jinggoy, who is currently undergoing medical treatment Don Carlos Doctors Hospital, Don Carlos, Bukidnon.
Torres said that human rights groups have nothing to worry with hospital arrest that they implemented following the statement released by Exodus for Justice and Peace who made such appeal based on humanitarian grounds and in pursuance to the re-opening of the peace talks between the government (GPH) and the National Democratic Front (NDF).
“They need not lecture us on those things, we know that very well but probably they have to realize that actually it is an effort of the some organization to probably downplay the significance of the arrest of Jinggoy and probably it is an attempt to exonerate him from the charges that are against him,” Torres said.
The human rights group wants a humanitarian consideration for Cañete who was seriously wounded during an encounter in Bukidnon with the troops. They pointed that under the Geneva Convention and International Humanitarian Law (IHL), wounded combatants or Hors de Combat must be protected from attacks as they are incapable of engaging in combat, and must be accorded rights to medical care and other rights under IHL.
“Despite the atrocities that he has committed in the past, the [AFP] organization is still doing its best to protect him so that he would be made answerable to the atrocities that he has committed,” he said.
He also cited that Eastmincom commander Lieutenant General Benjamin R. Madrigal Jr. directed them to ensure the protection of Cañete so he would be prosecuted once he recovers.
"The arrest of Jinggoy and his eventual prosecution will now give justice to the victims of his many atrocities particularly, to the late Larry Buenafe who was just peacefully earning a living when he was killed by an NPA-laid landmine. While he is receiving medical treatment, we will be backing up the Philippine National Police in providing security and in the eventual prosecution of his numerous cases," Madrigal said.
Cañete is currently confined at the hospital with military troopers guarding him. Based on the Inter-Agency Report of 1003rd Infantry Brigade, 403rd Brigade and Don Carlos Municipal Police Office, the team served the warrant of arrest last May 12 for multiple murder and arson while he was in the hospital seeking for medical treatment after he was wounded in a recent encounter in Kitaotao, Bukidnon on May 10 between the troops of 1003rd Brigade and his group.
He sustained six gunshot wounds in his body and is currently recovering.The NPA fighter is facing 12 various cases for murder, harassment, robbery and theft, among others.
He was the one who replaced Leoncio Pitao alias Parago as the leader of Pulang Bagani Command (PBC1), Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) after the latter was killed in an encounter.
His area of operation covers the boundary of Bukidnon, Davao del Norte and the mountainous districts of Davao City. His group was allegedly responsible for the burning of road-building equipment being used in the ongoing bypass road at Barangay Mandug and Fatima, both in Paquibato, Davao City and the burning incident of Lapanday facility in Mandug, Davao City.