Army says NPA leader being treated well

Posted at 06/07/2011 5:30 PM | Updated as of 06/08/2011 6:31 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The military is treating well a captured New People's Army (NPA) rebel leader, a Philippine Army spokesman said on Tuesday.

Army spokesman Col. Antonio Parlade said Tirso Alcantara, alias Ka Bart, denied an allegation made by National Democratic Front (NDF) chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni that he is being maltreated.

Alcantara, the head of the NPA's Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee, said he is getting medical attention and given food of his choice, according to Parlade.

The communist leader and his aide were captured in Lucena City last January based on arrest warrants for murder.

Alcantara suffered a gunshot wound during his arrest and went under the knife at a hospital.

He is now detained at Fort Bonifacio.

Jalandoni has alleged that Alcantara is being shackled to his bed, which the Army has denied.

"The claims that I am being shackled to my bed inside my detention cell is not true. I am not maltreated by my soldier-guards here," Parlade quoted Alcantara as saying.

The Army official said the 58-year-old Alcantara requested a fish diet, which was promptly granted.

Military doctor Capt. Jussel Parlan said the NPA leader is also being given vitamins because he has coughs and colds.

He added that Alcantara is "is now on the road towards full recovery" after being treated for his gunshot wound.

Representatives of the International Committee on the Red Cross have also visited the rebel leader in his detention cell, according to Parlade.

Jalandoni wants Alcantara freed, claiming he is an NDF consultant in the peace process.

His status requires protection under the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees between the NDF and the government, he added.

Parlade, on the other hand, denied that Alcantara is a peace consultant.

"He kept on hiding while continuously orchestrating violent attacks against our soldiers and government facilities. I don't think that is the job of a peace consultant," the Army spokesman said.