NPAs release Manero on humanitarian grounds

Aug. 26, 2008

Davao City– The Communist New People’s Army released former army sergeant Jose Manero, a former Ilaga leader and brother of released priest killer Norberto Manero, after three months in captivity.

The rebels, who took Manero during the May 11 raid in a Calinan banana plantation owned by Rafael Lorenzo, released him somewhere in Calinan at around 10:30 pm yesterday, August 24.

Manero was working as a security personnel of the Lorenzo farm when he was captured.

Rigoberto F. Sanchez, the regional spokesperson of the NPA in Southern Mindanao, said the NPA granted conditional amnesty to Manero because of his admission of guilt and issuance of a public apology for the “crimes” and “serious violations of human rights committed against the people.

Sanchez said Manero committed those crimes while he was still active in the Philippine Army as detachment commander in various areas in Davao City.

The NPA said that Manero wrote in a two-page paper his crimes against the people which included murdering civilians, burning houses, the killing of Red fighters, forcibly driving civilians out of their homes, and the harassment of Lapanday union members, among others.

He said the NPA released Manero on three conditions: that Manero will refrain from doing those acts again; that he would no longer engage in armed and other hostile actions against the NPA and the revolutionary movement; and that he would be truthful in his admission of guilt and public apology.

The rebel group warned that should Manero violate these conditions, his name will be back in the NPA list again.

Sanchez said the NPA also asked the Lorenzo family to indemnify Manero’s victims.

It is the responsibility of the Lorenzo family to indemnify the victims mainly because they benefited from Manero’s services during the lengthy part of his tour of duty in the AFP, the NPA statement said.

The NPA turned over Manero to Father Pete Lamata, parish priest of St. Mary Perpetual Rosary Parish in Buhangin and to Father Jovil Bonggay, parish priest of St. James Parish the Apostle in Bunawan district

“Ka Parago explained to me that Manero was released on conditional pardon based on humanitarian grounds,” Lamata said.

NPA leader Kumander Parago turned Manero over to Lamata and Bonggay, who drove over to Calinan at night just to receive him. Parago was the commanding officer of the First Pulang Bagani Company who held Manero in custody for three months.

Lamata said Manero’s release was delayed by three weeks because he and Bonggay were still on vacation when they were asked to receive Manero from the NPAs.

The priest said he doesn’t know why the NPAs chose them but added that it is just a manifestation that the NPAs have trust and confidence in religious leaders.”

Lamata also works as the director of the Archdiocese Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue. He also works for the Humanitarian Peace Mission Group who facilitated the release of General Victor Obillo captured by the NPA in 1999.

Lamata and Bonggay accompanied Manero to his home in Wangan, Calinan District where one of Manero’s sons was waiting and was surprised to see his father again. (Grace S. Uddin/

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