Surigao Norte cop abducted, slain by NPA: Army says

By Alexander Lopez

August 19, 2020, 6:07 pm

<p>Col. George L. Banzon, commander of the Army's 901st Infantry Brigade. <em>(Photo courtesy of the 901Bde)</em></p>

Col. George L. Banzon, commander of the Army's 901st Infantry Brigade. (Photo courtesy of the 901Bde)

BUTUAN CITY – The communist New People’s Army (NPA) was responsible for the abduction and killing of a Surigao del Norte policeman, whose body was found Tuesday (Aug. 18) in Barangay Matin-ao, Mainit town.

In a statement Wednesday, the Army's 901st Infantry Brigade (901Bde) said that Police Staff Sergeant Restie Dandan was killed by communist guerillas under the NPA's Guerrilla Front 16 led by a certain Rolando Leyson Jr. after 18 days in captivity.

Dandan was kidnapped by armed men believed to be NPA rebels on July 31 in Barangay San Isidro, Sison town. The NPA, however, has not confirmed nor denied whether it was responsible.

Col. George Banzon, 901Bde commander, described Dandan's killing as “heartless”.

“The 901st Infantry Brigade joins the people of Surigao in condemning the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) following the heartless murder of police personnel,” Banson said.

Dandan’s body sustained three gunshot wounds according to the report of the Scene of the Crime Operation (SOCO) sent by the Surigao del Norte Police Provincial Office (SDNPPO) on Tuesday.


“The people of Surigao, especially the hopeful family of PSSgt. Dandan, were deeply saddened by bad news after it was confirmed that their beloved had been brutally murdered by Communist NPA Terrorists,” Banson said.

He said that the kidnap-slaying of Dandan indicates that the NPA members in the province have become "desperate as they target off-duty uniformed personnel who do not have the capacity to defend themselves".

 The NPA rebels, he added, have shown "their true colors as terrorists and human right violators".

“This is another blatant disrespect of human rights and a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law which add to the long list of atrocities they committed against our countrymen, in this particular case, against the Surigaonons. The crime they committed was barbaric and unacceptable in a civilized society,” Banson added.

He also called on Surigao del Norte residents to unite in denouncing the communist rebel movement.

“We offer our sincerest sympathies and condolences to the family of late PSSgt. Dandan. This will not stop here, our unit, in coordination with the PNP (Philippine National Police), will continue to pursue the perpetrators so that justice will be served to the victim. It is just a matter of time, these terrorists will fall to the long arm of law and we will make them accountable for this crime,” Banson said.

PRO-13 slams Reds

In a statement Wednesday, the Police Regional Office in Caraga Region (PRO-13) condemned the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the NPA, for Dandan's death.

“The entire police force condemned in the strongest manner the latest hostility of the CPP-NPA victimizing PSSgt. Restie Dandan. This dastardly and barbaric act proved that the CPP-NPA terrorists never uphold the rule of law and are just good in disguising as protectors of the people,” PRO-13 Director Brig. Gen. Joselito Esquivel Jr. said.

Esquivel said the CPP-NPA "fights for a lost cause and that the atrocities they commit speak of their true colors as anti-peace and development.

The PRO-13 chief described Dandan as "a humble and hardworking police officer. Even in his previous assignments or in the community where he is residing, he did not have a derogatory record."

He also emphasized that joint police and military operation is now ongoing to bring those responsible for Dandan’s death to the bar of justice.

“The death of PSSgt. Dandan widowed his wife and orphaned his son and two daughters. We share the grief of his family, relatives, workmates, and friends over the loss of a good law enforcer, husband, and father. At all costs we will ensure that justice will be served soon," Esquivel said.

Meanwhile, Surigao del Norte Vice Governor Eddie Gokiangkee Jr. also issued a statement Wednesday expressing grief and condemnation over the death of Dandan.

“We are in solidarity with the appeal of the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte for prayers for the eternal repose of the soul of PSSgt. Dandan, as well as for emotional strength of his immediate family and we sincerely express our heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved family,” Gokiangkee said.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (PNA)