DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 27, 2010) – Philippine communist rebels condemned government forces for arresting a sick member of the New People’s Army who was rushed to hospital for emergency care in Mindanao.
The rebel, Eliseo Tada, was on his way to hospital for emergency care when troops arrested him and later paraded to the public in Malita town in Davao del Sur province, said Dencio Madrigal, a spokesman for the NPA’s Valentin Palamine Regional Operations Command.
He said Tada was so sick that he needed emergency medical care to save his life, but troops who arrested the rebel interrogated him instead.
“Eliseo (Ka Bimbo) Tada is a very sick man who has been ill for some time and had to have immediate medical treatment in a hospital. NPA medics who attended to him decided he should have a more specialized and extensive treatment, which at that particular time, could not be provided by the guerilla front.”
“For this reason, the comrades decided to brave the odds and bring him to the nearest medical facility in order to save his life. Unfortunately, he was accosted by enemy patrols along the way, interrogated and brought to 39th Infantry Battalion headquarters in Davao del Sur. During the interrogation he must have been physically and psychologically forced to admit to certain activities of which he had no knowledge about,” Madrigal said.
He said the military accused Tada of participating in a string of attacks against government soldiers in Sarangani province. He said Tada was very sick and has been under the care of NPA medics and could not be involved in any attacks against military forces.
“How could Ka Bimbo participate in the attritive action when he was very sick and has been on treatment by the NPA medics for some time now? He was neither in any of the two other tactical offensives launched by the Red fighters on September 18 and 20 in Malita (town), Davao del Sur and in Malapatan (town), Sarangani, respectively, which are within Front 71 territories,” Madrigal said.
The Army’s 10th Infantry Division said over the weekend that Tada, a senior NPA leader, surrendered to the military in Sarangani province. Tada was also tagged by the military as among those who attacked a group of army soldiers conducting anti-dengue seminar in Sarangani’s Malapatan town that left at least 2 infantrymen wounded.
There was no immediate statement from the military about the accusations and army spokesmen did not answer phone calls made by journalists.
The NPA is fighting for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. Peace talks between the rebel group and the Arroyo government collapsed in 2004 after both sides failed to sign a political deal that would put an end to decades of fighting. (Mindanao Examiner)