The Leonardo Panaligan Command of the New People's Army has announced that it will soon release Cirilo Bagnuran, who was taken by rebels during a raid at a cock farm in La Castellana, Negros Occidental, in the spirit of Christmas season.
But NPA spokesman Ka JB Regalado, in a tape-recorded statement furnished the DAILY STAR, called on the Philippine Army and other state security agencies to suspend their military operations, especially that of 11th Infantry Battalion, in the hinterlands of Isabela, Binalbagan and Moises Padilla in Negros Occidental, Canlaon and Guihulngan cities, Vallehermoso and La Libertad in Negros Oriental.
Regalado said Bagnuran was not abducted, and that he is only a respondent to criminal complaints filed against him before a people's court.
Bagnuran, according to the military and police, was kidnapped by rebels, who raided the cock farm of RPA-ABB leader Rene Europa, alias Maco.
The rebels also took six high-powered firearms from the cock farm, claimed by Regalado to be among the 700 firearms taken by the RPA-ABB from NPA.
Europa and Bagnuran, who is also a member of the RPA-ABB, were linked by the NPA to incidents of murder in La Castellana and Guihulngan City.
The accusations were vehemently denied by Europa.
Mildred Bagnuran, who is suffering from a heart ailment, yesterday reiterated her call to the abductors of her husband to release him, in the spirit of Christmas.
A complaint of serious illegal detention was filed yesterday against the NPA before the Commission on Human Rights.
Regalado claimed that it was Europa who triggered the firefight, and used Bagnuran as a human shield, while putting up a fight with the NPA who had tried to arrest him.
The Philippine Army has launched an infantry brigade-sized operation to rescue Bagnuran and capture those behind the series of killings of former and active members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit in southern Negros.*GPB
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