SORSOGON CITY – Army soldiers visited the captured NPA rebels to render Christmas songs and share some gifts to them at 9:30am today, a military official said.LtCol Rodolfo Batang, Civil Military Operations officer of the 9th Infantry Division said that he was directed by Major General Ruperto "Raffy" Pabustan, the Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, to bring some Christmas gifts for the three captured rebels.
Batang and 10 other soldiers trooped to the hospital bed of Elmer Escobido a.k.a. Ka Alvin 24, who is still recuperating from his wounds in a local hospital here.Escobido can barely talk but smiled when soldiers, together with the local media and hospital personnel sang "Ang Pasko ay Sumapit" for him. He was given a cash gift of P5,000.00 as part of the Army's medical assistance.
"This is our humble way of showing to you the true essence of Christmas which is sharing the blessings from God. As promised, we will help you return to the mainstream society," said Batang.
Minutes later, the soldiers proceeded to the nearby jail where Escobido's comrades are incarcerated.Initially hesitant to face his soldier visitors, Jason Brul aka Ka Butch, was finally convinced by one of the officers who went inside his prison cell.
As he walked outside with Nelson Punilas, his comrade, soldiers greeted him with their rendition of the Taglish version of the birthday song as he sat in a wooden stool beside Punilas."I am very thankful for my friends who took time to visit me here again," said the beaming Brul, who has just turned 34 today.
The three red rebels are facing raps of illegal possession of firearms and explosives before a local court in Bulusan and Gubat town.He also expressed his Christmas wishes to his comrades who are still in the boondocks. "I wish you all good health and happiness this Christmas," said Brul.
Though hesitant to fully express his intention to finally cooperate with the peace efforts of the government, he declared that he now wants a peaceful life after spending 7 long years away from his growing family of 4 children.
As soldiers started to bade goodbye, Brul returned to his cell with his goodies and birthday cake, smiling at his cellmates who were all green with envy for his day's blessings from his 'former enemies'.
Major Harold Cabunoc, Spokesperson of the 9th Infantry Division, escorted Jason Brul aka Ka Butch from his prison cell. Following behind them is Nelson Punilas, Brul's comrade who was also captured during a clash with government troops on December 7, 2010.