BUTUAN CITY – The Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 (Caraga) on Wednesday announced the filing of various criminal charges against eight New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas for using the banned anti-personnel mines (APMs).
Brig. Gen. Romeo M. Caramat Jr., PRO-13 director, in a statement said leaders and members of Guerrilla Front (GF) 16 of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) are now facing charges of murder, multiple frustrated murder, and multiple attempted murder.
“They were also charged with violation of the provisions of Republic Act No. 9851 for the crimes the(y) committed against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and other crimes against humanity,” Caramat said.
He added that the charges were filed under Docket No. XIII-02-INV-21F-00277 at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Agusan del Norte in Butuan City on June 7.
The respondents are Engelbert Bunga-os alias Kadong; Eliamar Monter alias Gab; Marvin Bugas alias Eman; Samuel Navidas Batican alias Aldren/Popo/Ren-Ren; and Arsenia Cea alias Sinyang.
Two other unidentified rebels and a certain Alias Mariane were also included in the charges.
The NPA guerrillas were charged following an APM attack on 29th Infantry Battalion (29IB) soldiers in Sitio Ilong-ilong, Barangay Santiago, Agusan del Norte on May 31, 2021.
The 29IB troops, in response to the reports of civilians on the presence of armed men, clashed with NPA rebels in the area in a 30-minute gun battle.
At the height of the skirmish, the rebels triggered four APMs that killed one soldier and injured four others.
The NPA was condemned by the Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade for detonating the banned APMs that were planted on a trail used by civilians.
The use of APM is banned under international treaties, including the Ottawa Convention and the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention signed by more than 160 states and became effective in 1999.
The said conventions prohibit the acquisition, production, stockpiling, and use of APMs.
“The PNP-Caraga vows justice to the victims and their families. We will strengthen our legal offensives to add teeth to the government’s campaign against these NPA terrorists who shall also suffer defeat both in the battlefield and in the legal arena,” Caramat said.
He added that the anti-insurgency efforts of PRO-13, particularly on the legal aspect, shall reinforce the dwindling support of the civilians to the communist movement in the countryside.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)