Agusan del Sur mayor abducted
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The mayor of Loreto municipality in Agusan del Sur was abducted at his home Monday evening, October 19, police reports said.
Mayor Dario Otaza of the National Unity Party was forcibly taken by 16 armed men who posed as National Bureau of Investigation agents at his home in Barangay Baan, Butuan City.
The incident occurred around 6:45 pm on Monday.
The armed men, believed to be members of the communist New People's Army (NPA), used a black Starex van with plate number KDG 179 as their getaway vehicle, according to initial reports.
The vehicle was reportedly abandoned in Barangay Dulag.
Manny Bautista, Undersecretary of the Cabinet Cluster on Security, Justice, and Peace, condemned the incident, saying it has "no place in a civilized society."
"This only goes to show the lengths to which those who wish to obstruct our efforts towards peace and development will go through, in order to fulfill their agenda," he said in a statement.
Bautista added that Otaza, a former rebel, has been the government's partner in programs aimed at helping rebel returnees.
Following Otaza's participation in the national government's Serbisyo Caravan program, 154 NPA rebels surrendered, according to Bautista.
"Several NPA rebels who enjoy kinship with Mayor Otaza through the IP network have indicated a desire to reenter formal society because of the Mayor’s integrity, credibility, and the success of his programs," Bautista said.
Local police are now conducting pursuit operations against the suspects. – Rappler.com