By LITO RULONA
THE New People’s Army yesterday linked the soldier it held captive in Valencia, Bukidnon, to a crime group of guns for hire, robbery and extortion.
In a statement, the NPA said T/Sgt. Joseph Paredes’s alleged links to the group surfaced when its investigators checked the soldier’s personal background.
The NPA said it also found out that Paredes is an intelligence officer working the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.
Ka Cesar Renerio, spokesman of National Democratic Front here, said Paredes was also behind a group of anti-communist civilian “assets” (informers) in various parts of Mindanao.
“Active nagapaniktik on the activity of the NPA. Aduna sab siyay grupo nga ginganlan og Magic 7 nga nagsilbeng guns for hire ug ginagamit alang sa pagpanulis,” Renerio alleged.
He said the same group has been extorting from small businessmen involved in quarrying activities in Barangay Kahaponan, Valencia City.
“Daghan pa ang nahimong salaud sa katilingban kini nga sundalo nga motaas na kung usa-usahan pa pagdetalye dinhi,” Renerio pointed out in the statement.
But Renerio said the NPA would still free Paredes as a sign of goodwill in time for the NDF and government negotiations on May 26 on condition that the soldier makes a public apology and promises to never do it again.
Meanwhile, Renerio said the NPA has asked a group of third party facilitators headed by Iglesia Filipina Independiente Bishop Felixberto Calang and Roman Catholic Archbishop Antonio Ledesma to help by working for a temporary ceasefire in specific areas.
Paredes’s release, according to Renerio, would depend on how the Armed Forces and the police would respond to the call for a suspension of government offensives.