President Benigno Aquino III on Monday called on communist rebels to show “sincerity” in the peace process, following their abduction of seven people, including a mayor, in Surigao del Sur and Bukidnon.
“Kailangan rin naman sila (rebels) magpakita ng maayos na gesture kung sinsero sila,” Aquino told reporters in a briefing after leading the 110th Police Service anniversary rites in Camp Crame.
The President made the remark when asked if the government will review the peace process with the National Democratic Front (NDF) following the abduction of Lingig, Surigao del Sur, Mayor Henry Dano and his two escorts by New People’s Army (NPA) members on Saturday.
The abduction reportedly occurred the same day that government negotiator Alexander Padilla and his NDF counterpart Fidel Agcaoili were holding peace talks in Magallanes, Makati.
“Papagusapan namin ‘yan with the OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process), at siguro besides the mayor, ipapaalala ko lang ‘yung apat na BJMP personnel na di pa rin pinapakawalan,” Aquino said.
The NPA had already claimed responsibility for seizing JInsp. Tudyog, JInsp. Llamre, SJO2 Begones, and JO1 Bayuyo in Kitaokitao, Bukidnon, on July 21 but has yet to issue a statement regarding Dano and his escorts.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, for his part, said the abductions, as well as the attack by rebels on the Trento Police Station in Agusan del Sur, apparently shows a wrong signal.
“Palagay ko po makaka-pressure ito sa OPAPP na, ‘Ano ba naman yan, tayo po ay nagpapakita ng kagandahang loob at ito po ‘yung tugon nila (rebels) sa ating kagandahang loob,'” Robredo said.
Army spokesman Col. Antonio Parlade, meanwhile, said that Dano’s abduction casts doubt on the ability of the NDF, NPA, and the Communist Party of the Philippines in control forces on the ground.
“If they were really in command, why is it that on one hand the leaders are arranging peace talks and on the other, their subordinates are conducting kidnappings? It is evident that there are discrepancies here,” Parlade said in a statement. (John Roson)
– end –