- Duterte said he would no longer work for the release of the police chief abducted by NPAs
- The rebels told Duterte they found a sachet of shabu in the police officer’s possession
- The incoming president said he is leaving the police officer’s fate to the NPAs
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said he would no longer work for the release of a police officer taken captive by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Davao Oriental.
On May 29, the communist rebels raided the municipal police station in Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental and took captive the town’s chief of police Chief Inspector Arnold Ongachen. The leftist insurgents also seized several firearms from the police armory. On the same day, Duterte asked the rebels to immediately release the police officer.
“May I ask them (NPA) now, kung nakikinig sila [if they are listening], release the chief of police. Kung wala naman kasalanan [if he has done nothing wrong], release him immediately, kindly,” Duterte said.
However, on Thursday, June 2, the incoming president changed his tune and said he is leaving Ongachen’s fate in the hands of the NPA after an official of the rebel group told him that a packet of shabu [methamphetamine hydrochloride] was found in his possession.
“I was talking to Quinn, he is the guy in charge. He would not lie to me. Sabi niya na nahulihan daw [He said they caught him in possession (of shabu)]. They raided the station because of the numerous complaints of residents in the area that shabu was being peddled over there by the policemen,” Duterte said.
He said he told the NPA commander to try Ongachen in their own court.
“You have a kangaroo court there, you try him and sentence him to 20 years of hard labor,” Duterte said.
“I said I’d be harsh in dealing with drugs. I’m sorry for that guy. I leave his fate to the NPAs,” he added.
Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesman for the communist rebels, said the raid in Gov. Generoso town was actually an anti-illegal drugs operation.
As mentioned in an Inquirer article dated June 3, 2016, the rebel spokesman said the raid was conducted after the NPA received persistent reports that the coastal town had become the entry point of illegal drugs in the province and that the illegal trade was being protected by authorities.
The NPA targeted the municipal police station based on the people’s popular demand to punish the protectors of rampant drug trafficking in the area,” Sanchez reportedly said in a statement.