2006 Worst Year for Human Rights in Davao Regions — 5. Filing False Charges to Justify Illegal Arrest and Detention and Harass Critics

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December 03 2006

5. Filing False Charges to Justify Illegal Arrest and Detention and Harass Critics

Immediately after the declaration of the state of national emergency, the Arroyo government launched a legal offensive against suspected communist and military rebels, as well as other personalities from the legal opposition. It formed an Inter-Agency Legal Action Group, under the National Security Adviser, to plan the arrest and filing of charges against those opposed to the Arroyo administration.

Anakpawis Party List Representative Crispin Beltran was illegally arrested on February 25, the day after the issuance of PP1017. Rep. Beltran, who is also Chairperson emeritus of the national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU or the May 1st Movement) was arrested on the basis of a warrant of arrest issuedin 1985, during the Marcos dictatorship, for a rebellion case which was subsequently dismissed.

The PNP also attempted to arrest without warrant, Bayan Muna Representatives Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casio, Anakpawis representative Rafael Mariano and Representative Liza Maza of Gabriela Womens Party in a press conference the day after the declaration of the state of national emergency. Bayan Muna Representative Joel Virador, who was to return to attend to his duties in Congress, was seized and manhandled by CIDG agents at the Philippine Airlines ticket office here in Davao City.

In Davao City eight militant leaders were falsely accused of allegedly committing rebellion by 2 Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Region 11 (CIDG-11) operatives following the Presidential Proclamation 1017 in February.

PO3 Franco Duca and Rodriguez executed affidavit citing that Bayan acting secretary general Ariel B. Casilao, Bayan Muna paty-list regional coordinator Jeppie Ramada, Omar C. Bantayan, Regional Secretary General of Kilusang mayo Uno, Luzviminda Ilagan, National Chairperson of Gabriela Womens Party, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) Davao City chairperson Editha Duterte, Samahan ng mga Maralitang Kabababihang Nagkakaisa (SAMAKANA) Davao City Chapter chairperson Corazon Espinoza, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas regional chairperson Antonio Flores and Anakbayan leader Lorie Ann A. Cascaro were involved in the aggressive actions to destabilize the Philippine Government during the February 24 EDSA commemoration activity at the Davao City Centennial Park.

The KARAPATAN together with eight militant leaders filed administrative charges thru the Peoples Law Enforcement Board against the two Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Region 11 (CIDG-11) operatives who falsely accused the 8 Davao City leaders of abetting rebellion.

In three hearings, the CIDG personnel sought for amicable settlement and are willing to execute a letter of apology to the victims in public.

The Alvin Luque case, over the last four years, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) leader Alvin Luque has been hounded with court charges imputing him as abetting and as a leader of the underground New Peoples Army. Luque was a former student leader, a teacher at religious-run college in Davao, a staff of a labor institution, before he became the secretary general of Bayan. Luques debacle started after he figured in the wide opposition against the 73rd Infantry Battalion and Col. Eduardo del Rosario over the Pangyan Massacre in April 2002.

Last April 18, 2006, Regional Trial Court Branch 14 Judge Marivic Daray cancelled the P200, 000 bail earlier granted to Luque and ordered for his immediate arrests. Daray sustained the arguments of the prosecution that it is still premature to say that Luque was not a leader of the NPA since the case is still pending. Three days later, Luques warrant of arrest was released. But Last April 25, 2006 Luques legal counsel filed a very urgent omnibus motion for reconsideration with urgent motion to defer/recall issuance of warrant and since then, the resolution of the motion for reconsideration was denied.

The Judge issued a warrant of arrest of Mr. Luque November this year. In reply to this latest development, the counsel of Mr. Luque is still maximizing and exploring all legal remedies.

North Cotabato Gov. Emmanuel Piol filed libel charges against Bayan acting secretary general Ariel B. Casilao, Karapatan SMR Sec-Gen Kelly M. Delgado and Caraga Anakpawis Coordinator Linos Cubol for publishing libelous statements or remarks that caused injury or harm to him following the May 7, 2006 grenade lobbing incident in Kidapawan City Anakpawis Office which seriously hurt Bayan North Cotabato Spokesperson Jobanie Tacadao and Anakpawis Partylist Kidapawan City Coordinator Roderick Abalde.

But the three leaders maintained that it was only a statement of condemnation and appeal to concerned government agency and official to immediately act, investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of the terroristic act. That the statement is not conclusive and does not accuse Gov. Piol the commission of the crime of frustrated murder. The statement is a democratic exercise of the constitutional right of freedom of expression, since the Governor is the person with the power and authority obliged and mandated to protect the safety, human rights of his constituents and bring the perpetrators to justice; To state that Gov. Piol and the military particularly the 39th IB under 602nd Infantry Brigade should not to be exempted or exonerated in the investigation of the grenade lobbing incident is a statement of fact and a challenge to investigating authorities to identify and establish the possible motives behind the terrorist act.

Last November 30, the local court has raffled the case and is set to release the warrant of arrest for Mr. Casilao and Mr. Delgado on December this year.

Continue reading: 6. Curtailing Civil Liberties

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