NPA demands release of 3 ex-PUP students

MANILA, Philippines – The communist New People’s Army (NPA) on Wednesday demanded the release of 3 people who were arrested near an Army patrol base in Sta. Ynez, Tanay, Rizal last October 26.

The NPA’s Narciso Antazo Aramil Command (NAAC) claimed that the arrest was illegal.

“The three were deprived of their rights to immediately inform their families of their arrest. Instead they were hidden overnight inside a detachment of the 59th IB (Infantry Battalion) and subjected to intense interrogation and torture,” said NPA-NAAC spokesman Macario “Ka Karyo” Liwanag in a press statement.

Liwanag also alleged that the military tortured the suspects identified as Jared Morales, 21, Hermogenes Reyes Jr., 22 and Marissa Espedido, 21.

“Blindfolded and hog-tied, they were then taken to the 16th IB headquarters in Pinugay, Baras, Rizal the following day, October 27. There they were once again subjected to more interrogations and harsher torture from the hands of the military,” he said.

Liwanag added that the parents of the 3 suspects are denied access and “were not allowed to talk or even see the 3 illegally-arrested.”

Morales, Reyes and Espedido, all former students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, are facing illegal possession of firearms charges after police recovered an M-16 Armalite rifle, an M-203 grenade launcher attached to another M-16 rifle, a shotgun with 12 live ammunition, 12 M-16 magazines with live ammunition, 12 40mm live ammunition, 2 grenades, and an improvised explosive device from them.

Liwanag said the 3 were conducting “community consultations” about the aborted resumption of the peace talks between the communists and the government when they were arrested.

The suspects are being held at the Rizal Provincial Jail in Taytay.

No bail was recommended for the trio.

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