TACLOBAN CITY– Government forces exhumed the remains of a New People’s Army (NPA) member in a forested area of Sitio Silao Bato, Barangay Kahupian, Sogod, Southern Leyte on Saturday (April 6).

The deceased was identified as Teodulo Arbuyas, also known as “Teng/Enting,” belonging to Platoon 1, Island Committee 47 – LEVOX (IC 47-LEVOX) of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee.

Arbuyas, who was positively identified by his wife through a tattoo on his chest, was reportedly buried by his comrades, as revealed by a former rebel who surrendered to the Army earlier.

The former rebel, who died May of last year, is to be buried on Tuesday (April 9) in a public cemetery in Javier, Leyte, his place of birth.

The joint efforts of the Army’s 14th Infantry (Avenger) Battalion, Southern Leyte Provincial Forensic Unit, Southern Leyte Police Mobile Force Company, and the Sogod Municipal Police Station led to the retrieval of Arbuyas’ cadaver, following information provided by a former rebel regarding the location of the body and the circumstances of his death.

Arbuyas allegedly succumbed to Hepatitis due to neglect by the communist leadership, who withheld medical treatment and intentionally concealed his death from his family.

It was also learned that Arbuyas had expressed a desire to surrender but was denied by his NPA commander, who rejected the possibility of him receiving medical care with assistance from the Army and the government.

“It is imperative that Arbuyas receives a dignified burial, allowing his family to mourn. It is our duty to serve the people and provide necessary assistance to victims of armed conflict, even in death,” stated local Army Commander Lieutenant Colonel Edgar Gabia.

Brigadier General Noel Vestuir, commander of the 802nd Infantry Brigade, extended condolences to Arbuyas’ family while condemning the treatment of NPA members by the terrorist movement.

“I am appalled by the callousness of the NPA commanders, who disregard human life. They show no regard for the feelings of their members’ loved ones,” remarked BGen Vestuir. (JOEY A. GABIETA)