BJMP captives appeal to negotiators, military: suspend operations – videos released by NPA

MALAYBALAY CITY – Abducted personnel from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology appealed for the suspension of military operations pursuing the New People’s Army and allayed fear and worry of their families in video clips released by the NPA to the media Monday.

The video clips were attached in an email sent by the National Democratic Front Southern Mindanao to Bukidnon News as of Aug. 28, 9p.m. but received only Monday afternoon.

Jail Insp. Erico Llamasares, Ozamis City jail warden, was seen speaking in a 53-seconder clip asking the government and those involved in the negotiations for their release to stop the military operations.

“Marag mao na siya ang nakadugay para matagaan og dalan ang among release,”[It seems it (military operations) is delaying, to give way for our release] Llamasares said.
Llamasares donned a grey colored and collared shirt. Several times he rocked towards the camera and at some point, smiled in assuring “they have no problem there” and said “salamat”(thank you to end his clip).

He added that they were treated well by their captors, with their basic needs, food and water, have been provided. He also assured his family not to worry “just wait there” “we can come home.” Jail Insp. Murphy Todyog said they have received “humane treatment”
and also assured his family they are “ok” even if he said that they have been exposed to rain and cold. “We are still alive,” he said.

Wearing a printed brown shirt and smiling at the start of his 1:17 minute video clip, Todyog cited that they have been captives for more than a month. He said in the video that it was taken on August 23, a Tuesday. Todyog appealed to the military to give way to negotiation “in order not to hamper” the process of their release. It was SJO2 Rogelio Begontes, who identified himself in his video clip as a paralegal escort of the detainees, who said he is a POW (prisoner of war).

He said his only problem there is missing his family as they were treated like visitors.

He cited that their captors did not them verbally or physically.

To negotiators, he said, that they may exert effort to expedite their release. “Don’t prolong it as we are needed by our family,” he added in his 2:16 minute video, the longest of the four clips.

Begontes appeared relax in his video. He was wearing a dark blue collared shirt and a folded bonnet on his head printed “No Fear.”

He said they were provided food and other basic needs, including health check up. But he too asked the military to suspend its operations.

Jail Officer 1 Rolando Bajoyo Jr, too, assured his family that he is treated well by their captors, repeating the statement in his 58-seconder video clip. He also appealed to the Philippine Army to suspend military operations.

The four BJMP statements had common topics: their situation, assurance to their family, appeal to the military and the government to suspend the military operations, and to expedite negotiations for their release.

Except for Todyog, the three other captives appeared to have shaved. Only Todyog’s hand, too, was seen on the video. It was not clear from the video if the three other captives were handcuffed. Except for Llamasares, whose video was taken with his back on a fatigue-colored tarp, the background of the video clips of the three other captives had indications they were taken in a forested area . Except for Llamasares, too, whose shot extended down to his chest at a time, the shots of the three other captives were close range straight to the head and neck.

The New People’s Army, in an email sent to the media on August 10, has announced they have “accorded” the four BJMP personnel the status of “prisoners of war”(POW). “Under international conventions, the POW status is a protective basic rights,” said Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of the NPA’s Merardo Arce Command. The four BJMP personnel were taken by the NPA in Kitaotao, Bukidnon last July 21 as they were transporting inmate Dennis Rodenas to a Davao jail. Rodenas, suspected to be a bomb expert and a ranking NPA member, was eventually freed by the NPA. (Walter I. Balane)

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