Soldier takes hostage bus passengers in Camarines Sur

ALBAY, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The enlisted man of the Philippine Army who took hostage about 30 passengers of a Peñafrancia bus in Barangay Comadaycaday in Del Gallego town, Camarines Sur province on Friday, May 29, surrendered before 5 pm.

The military identified the suspect as Corporal Rene Prajele, 36, of the Army's 31st Infantry Battalion based in Sorsogon. He was riding the bus carrying his issued M16 rifle, according to reports reaching at Camp Gen. Simeon Ola in Legazpi City.

The passengers he took hostage were mostly students going back to Manila for the opening of classes, police said.

The bus was travelling from Naga City to Manila via the Maharlika Highway. Peñafrancia Tours and Travel is a bus line that operates to and from the Bicol region and Metro Manila. 

Police Senior Inspector Malu Calubaquib, spokesperson of Bicol Philippine National Police, said the incident took place at 12:30 pm.

Military commanders joined the crisis management team, said Armed Forces acting public affairs officer Lieutenant Colonel Marlowe Patria.

"A Crisis Management Team was created composed of the mayors of Ragay and Del Gallego of Camarines Sur, Colonel Amador Tabuga of the 902nd Infantry Brigade, PNP Del Gallego and 49th Infantry Battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Medel Aguilar," Patria said. 

The incident caused heavy traffic at Maharlika Highway. Chief Superintendent Victor Deona, Bicol police regional director, said that cops assigned in Del Gallego, Camarines Sur, have blocked the road.  

Earlier, Deona said: “Our men are working together with local officials to pacify the hostage taker so that no one will be harmed. We hope to resolve the ongoing incident the soonest time.”

Army Captain Marjore Paneza, spokesperson of the Army’s 9st Infantry Division, said that Prajele was assigned as security in some development projects of the government. It appeared Prajele was having family problems, Paneza said.

Prajele was assigned under the command of Lieutenant Co. Beerjenson Aquino, commanding officer of the Army’s 31st Infantry Battalion in Sorsogon. Rappler.com