By NITZ ARANCON
and LITO RULONA
THE 4th Infantry Division yesterday sharply criticized the New People’s Army (NPA) for its use of the social media to show video clips of policemen the rebels took as captives in Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, and Agusan del Norte.
Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez, 4th ID spokesman, said the NPA did exactly what the terrorist group Isis has been doing whenever the extremists have taken hostages.
The criticism was made a day after the communist rebel group released video recordings of SPO4 Rene Rombo, SPO1 Warren Hansol Coñales and PO3 Edwin Castor as “proof of life” that went viral in social media.
The captives have appealed to the military and the police to suspend their operations so that they could be released immediately.
The NPA also released video footages showing Pfcs. Glenn Austria and Diven Abion Tawide being seized at an NPA roadblock in Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.
Martinez called the act of the rebels “irresponsible” that was meant to sow fear.
“Definitely, the NPAs do not care about the effects of the videos,” he said.
Martinez called the rebels “extortionists” and “violators of human rights” who have done nothing but “create havoc.”
“It is very obvious that there is coercion. Clearly, at this point, they are no longer fighting for their failed ideology but are now espousing a crime in order to sow fear. What they did is plain kidnapping, and it is a crime punishable by law,” he said.
He also criticized the NPA for recording videos and uploading these in social media just like the Isis and the Abu Sayyaf.
“They are only highlighting their terrorist nature,” said Martinez.
One of the recordings showed SPO4 Rombo handcuffed at the backdrop of an NPA flag. Another showing Coñales and Castor was released a few hours later.
The policemen asked President Aquino, National Police Director General Ricardo Marquez, the Armed Forces, local officials and a third party group of negotiators to help them.
Rombo, in the video recording, appealed to Medina Mayor Ken Uyguanco, Mayor Junjun Lagbas of Kinoguitan, Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano, Rep. Peter Unabia, a religious group, and the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC), to also help them “para mapadali ang akong pag-gawas… Please help me. Hinaut masabtan ninyo akong kahimtang.”
He made the appeal with his voice trembling, and crying.
Rombo also asked his wife and children not to worry because he was being treated well by the NPA.
In another video recording, Coñales and Castor appealed to Bukidnon Gov. Jose Ma. Zubiri Jr. and Senior Supt. Reynaldo Asis Padulla, Bukidnon police director, to stop rescue operations that may endanger their lives.