MANILA — Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) units are now tracking down the New People’s Army (NPA) bandits who abducted and killed Loreto Mayor Dario Otaza and his son, Daryl, Monday.
This was disclosed by EMC chief Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad in an interview Tuesday.
“Pursuit operations are now ongoing,” he added.
Baladad also clarified that Otaza is not a supporter of the EMC but only of the government.
“We would like to emphasize (that) Mayor Otaza is a non-combatant, (he is a) civilian government official, so basically his killing is already a violation of the principle of distinction, (of) International Humanitarian Law, they should be separated, on whose a combatant or non-combatant, even worse, (they also his son) who is even more of a civilian that him,” the EMC chief stressed.
Baladad said that they are looking at members of the NPA’s Guerilla Front 48 as suspects behind the Otazas’ abduction and killing, adding that they now have sketches of the 18 rebels who abducted the victims.
The bodies of the victims were found in Barangay Bitan-agan, Butuan City at around 6 a.m. Tuesday.
The two went missing 6: 50 p.m. after 18 NPA bandits, disguising themselves as NBI agents, abducted the Otazas from their residence in Barangay Baan, Butuan City.
The senior Otaza is the mayor of Loreto town, Agusan Del Sur. He is the icon of the local chief executives in the campaign for peace and development.
The senior Otaza was a member of NPA who surrendered after realizing that the armed struggle is not the solution to the country’s problem.
As mayor and member of the Provincial Tribal Council in Agusan Del Sur, he liberated his town from NPA exploitation and manipulation.
Otaza was successful in encouraging 246 NPA leaders and members, majority of whom are Lumads, to surrender and return to their normal and peaceful lives.
Under his leadership, development has started to set-in in his town of Loreto, benefiting his constituents.