Detained IP leader released

By
March 27 2013

Jalandoni Campos, chair of the indigenous people’s organization Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (Mapasu) and council member of the Mindanao Lumad alliance Kalumaran, was released to the custody of Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel at 9:30 PM Monday.

By MARILOU AGUIRRE-TUBURAN
Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines –Authorities released Monday night a tribal leader who was arrested and detained in Tandag town, Surigao del Sur two days earlier.
Jalandoni Campos, chair of the indigenous people’s organization Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (Mapasu) and council member of the Mindanao Lumad alliance Kalumaran, was released to the custody of Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel at 9:30 PM Monday.

The transfer of custody was signed two hours earlier from his release by Judge Alfredo Jalad of Tandag City’s Regional Trial Court Branch 28.
Dr. Naty Castro, secretary general of rights group Karapatan in the Caraga region, noted that teachers from the community schools rallied the parents and their pupils to show concern for Campos.  Nuns and priests from Catholic and Protestant churches also joined the trooping, she added.

Provincial Prosecutor Florito Cuartero facilitated the release as witnessed by Tandag City Police Supt. Jeffrey Lawrence Mauricio, the Order of St. Benedict Sisters led by Sr. Mary James Mujar and other support groups.

Cuartero, according to Dr. Castro, have made an assurance for a complete reinvestigation of Campos’ case.

“Again it is proven that the unity of the Lumad people together with other concerned sectors of our society is a superior instrument in the search and achievement of the truth,” said Myrna Belandres, Deputy Secretary General of Mapasu.

Mapasu is an inter-municipal organization of Manobo tribes covering the towns of Lianga, San Agustin, Marihatag, Tago and San Miguel in Surigao del Sur.

Belandres added that Campos’ release is “a new start for another search for truth.”  This as the “arbitrary, fabricated and malicious cases” filed against Campos and other Mapasu members persist.

On Satuday around 8PM, Campos was arrested by police authorities “in civilian clothes,” right after his guesting as a representative of the Katribu Party-list in a one-hour radio program over a local FM station.  During the guesting, he talked about the lumads’ plight, as well as human rights violations and large-scale mining.

Police Investigation Joemel Maquiling has served the warrant of arrest on a charge of rebellion (Case Number 2417) in connection to the raid of communist guerillas against the Lianga PNP station last 28 April 2011.  Thirty-six civilians and Mapasu members were also named as respondents, majority of them were said to be old and sickly.

But Campos and other Mapasu members who were charged, were not informed of the filed complaint against them, Dr. Castro said.

“The warrant of arrest was issued without allowing those accused to respond to the charges against them.  Clearly there was no reasonable investigation to determine probable cause,” she said.

During Campos’s detention Monday morning, he was reportedly subjected to over an hour of interrogation by a certain Michael Quisaot, an alleged intelligence operative.  Quisaot only stopped when Fiscal Bruno Zafra arrived.

Campos who’s diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, has been on maintenance medication and on a strict diet for his condition.  He’s been the chairman of Mapasu since its inception in 1996.

“Because he is known by the Lumad people for his wise and just leadership, he continues to be the chairman today,” said Genasque Enriquez, National vice-president of Katribu Party-list.

Campos was among the 76 Lumad leaders from Mindanao who participated in the Manilakbayan last December.  Together with other lumads and support groups, he sought an audience with the Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima where they raised the issue of fabricated charges, killings and dislocation of leaders and members of Lumad organizations, including his case.

He said to be well-known in the Caraga region as he is always at the forefront of negotiations, confrontations and direct arguments against the alleged military abuses.  He has been leading the fight against destructive mining and militarization, recruitment and arming of Lumad, attacks against Lumad schools and the anti-Lumad COPD of the military.

The case against Campos and Mapasu members, according to Dr. Castro, is among the 12 documented cases of trumped up charges filed against over 80 leaders and members of progressive organizations in the region.

“We have engaged the local prosecutors’ office and the Department of Justice to address these cases since 2012 but the cases have persisted despite their reassurances to reinvestigate,” Dr. Castro said, adding that new cases have been filed “with the same disregard to proper legal procedure.”  (Marilou Aguirre-Tuburan/davaotoday.com)

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