CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – Three individuals who requested for military custody after they were coerced to hide a fleeing notorious NPA leader were received on Thursday by the LGU of Kalayaan, Laguna.
It can be recalled that the Army’s 202nd Brigade granted the request for custody of the three individuals expressed through their Aug 11 affidavit which was endorsed by Mayor Sandy Laganapan the following day.
Aside from the Municipal Mayor, present during the handover were Maricar Palacol of Laguna Peace and Order Council, Brigadier General Alex Rillera of 202nd Infantry Brigade and Lt Col Jesus Diocton of the 1st Infantry Battalion.
During the undertaking, Mayor Laganapan expressed the “people of Kalayaan’s heartfelt appreciation to the military for always living up to your mandate of securing our citizens from possible terroristic actions by the enemies of the state.”
BGen Rillera responded by “reaffirming our readiness to help our constituents and respond to their requests to the best of our abilities regardless whether those are in times of conflict, disaster or peace.”
“The fact that these civilians requested for military custody is a manifestation, and a tangible proof, of our people’s growing degree of trust and confidence to the AFP”, added BGen Rillera.
He ended his statement by saying that prior to the handover to the LGU, “these civilians received psycho-social intervention from social workers and health professionals to ensure that they are no longer suffering from trauma and ready to return to their normal lives.”
On an earlier press release, the military said that the trio admitted to being forced to hide and support Mario Caraig alias Jethro, the Secretary of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee’s SRMA 4C, from pursuing AFP-PNP elements who were then closing in to the location of the now deceased terrorist commander.
“Under duress, these civilians took in alias Jethro who was then fleeing from the Aug 4 encounter site wherein RTF ELCAC 4A’s PLEDS Team neutralised alias Termo, the NPA Commander of the Main Regional Guerilla Unit which operates across Southern Tagalog”, the press release read.
The three civilians have been previously identified as Virgillo Asedillo, Chloe Anne Asedillo and Marknel Iwarat.
Major General Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr, Commander of the AFP’s Northern Luzon Command who is concurrently serving as the Commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, reassured the public that “your soldiers will always protect our informants as well as their families from any retaliatory acts of the terrorists.”
He added that granting protective custody to those under terrorist threat is part of their responsibility to every Filipino citizen.
“The Jungle Fighter Division will remain steadfast in living up to our most solemn oath of being advocates of peace, servants of the people and defenders of Southern Tagalog”, ended Maj Gen Burgos.