By Philippine News Agency
Kidapawan Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo reiterated his urgent appeal to the New People’s Army (NPA) to release Senior Insp. Menard Cui, whom the rebels seized on December 28, 2017, in nearby President Roxas, North Cotabato.
“I strongly appeal to the NPAs to free Insp. Cui,” Bagaforo said, noting the police officer has been in the hands of communist rebels for 72 days now.
Cui’s wife Florelie died two days after he was snatched by gunmen at a KTV Bar in Barangay Poblacion, President Roxas, North Cotabato.
Bagaforo earlier made a public appeal over Church-run Radio DXND in Kidapawan City for the rebels to free Cui so he can be with his wife during her last hours on earth. The appeal fell on deaf ears.
On Friday, police authorities in North Cotabato rejected calls from families of Cui to negotiate for his release.
Supt. Leo Ajero, North Cotabato provincial police deputy chief for operations, said the government does not, as matter of policy, negotiate with the communist rebels for the release of a kidnap victim. The NPA’s Guerilla Front 53 offered to free Cui in exchange for arrested tribal leader, Mylan Andas, an alleged sub-leader.
The police arrested Andas in 2017 in Magpet, North Cotabato, for possession of firearms.
A Church official working for Cui’s release has admitted the rebels wanted freedom for a number of comrades arrested by the government in exchange for his release.