KIAMBA, Sarangani – Bad weather did not derail the release by the New People's Army (NPA) of Pfc Khen Subere to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday, June 13, in a remote village south of Mindanao.
The 26-year-old Subere was held captive for two months by the communist rebel group. But Ka Dindo, head of the sub-regional committee of the Far South Mindanao Region-NPA command, said their investigation failed to establish Subere’s human rights violations.
The rebel leader said it took them a while to free Subere because of the military operations conducted by the 27th infantry Battalion.
It was the first time the NPA’s regional command has released a "prisoner of war."
Subere appeared to be in good health and in high spirits when he was turned over to Duterte.
Duterte said Subere's parents approached him for help. Subere had a tearful reunion with his parents and two other siblings before he boarded the helicopter with Duterte.
Duterte also served as an intermediary for the NPA and the families of their captives in previous occasions.
Turned over to the military
Subere asked that he be brought home, but Duterte said he would turn him over to the 10th Infantry Division. The military unit declared Subere absent without official leave (AWOL) a day after he was captured by the rebels.
“I don’t like idea that you will be declared AWOL (because you were held) hostage,” the mayor said.
Subere was on his way back to the camp after visiting his relatives in Tboli, South Cotabato when the NPA captured him.
He was dropped from the rolls of active enlisted men by 27th Infantry Battalion commander Lt Col Ronald Alcudia on April 23.
The last time the NPA command in the region held prisoners of war was in 2001. The NPA would eventually execute their 4 captives they accused as being government spies.
Peace talks with local communists have failed to end the communist insurgency, the longest in Asia, which has claimed about 30,000 lives by official estimates. – Rappler.com