Ex-rebel urges former NPA comrades to return to family

When military forces found him last year while patrolling the terrains of Northern Samar, former New People’s Army (NPA) rebel Rey Christian “Chanchan” Sabado has since joined authorities in sending out the message to his former colleagues in the armed group to “end the senseless armed rebellion and reunite with the community and their families”.

NEW LIFE. Former New People’s Army rebel Rey Christian Sabado encourages former colleagues to return to their families this year and start a new life. 21-year old Sabado, a former student in the Polytechnic University of the Philippines was found by the military in Northern Samar doing extortion activities to civilians. (Screenshot from 20th Infantry Battalion video)

In a video posted on Facebook by the Army’s 20th Infantry Battalion on January 8, Sabado shared his greetings for the New Year.

“[Ito ay] bagong taon, bagong dekada, bagong buhay na pwede nating harapin kasama ang ating pamilya ([This is a] new year, new decade, new life that we can spend with our families),” he said.

Now 21 years old, Sabado was a first-year Accountancy student of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta. Mesa, Manila when he joined a militant student political party and later entered Anakbayan, a militant youth organization.

He later dropped out of school to become a full-time activist and was eventually recruited to the NPA where he was sent to Northern Samar to become its education officer.

“Walang kahihinatnan ang pakikibakang ito dahil gagamitin at gagamitin lang tayo ng partido komunista ng Pilipinas (Communist Party of the Philippines – CPP), ng mga namumuno sa atin, para sa mas malaki pang pangungurakot, mas malaki pang panlilinlang (This armed struggle will bear no success because we are just being used by the CPP and its leaders for bigger corruption and deception),” Sabado added in the video.

Former New People’s Army member Rey Christian Sabado is visited by his mother, Anabelle, at the Northern Samar police provincial office in Catarman, Northern Samar in Oct. 13, 2019. Sabado’s mother came from Manila to reunite with her son whom she lost contact to after the latter joined the rebel group New People’s Army and was sent to Northern Samar. (Photo from Emjay Chico)

He and his two companions, identified as Anton Mañoso and Edwin Picson, were caught by soldiers from the 20th Infantry Battalion on October 3, 2019.

The troops were inspecting Barangay San Francisco, Las Navas, Northern Samar in response to complaints from residents about the presence of NPA in their area doing extortion.

They were reportedly caught carrying firearms, explosives and subversive documents including M16 and M14 rifles with fully loaded magazines.

After his arrest, Sabado had a tearful happy reunion with his mother when the latter visited him at the Northern Samar provincial jail through the help of Hands Off Our Children Movement, a support group for parents whose children were recruited by the NPA.

The organization has condemned the CPP-NPA’s propaganda to arouse, organize, and mobilize marginalized sectors in the countryside and infiltrate state universities and colleges and public schools purposely to advance their cause and create chaos in the community.

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

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