CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Sectoral leaders accused of being Communist rebels who went missing for a few hours since Monday, Jan. 28, were actually arrested by authorities to face criminal charges filed against them, the police regional office said Tuesday.
Arrested were Ereneo Udarbe and Jomorito Goaynon, who the Philippine National Police-10 (PNP-10) said where New People’s Army (NPA) leaders, were handcuffed early Monday in downtown Cagayan de Oro after a local court issued an order for their arrest.
The arrest warrant was issued by Judge Emmanuel Pasal of the Regional Trial Court Branch 38 based here for four counts of attempted murder and frustrated murder, said the police.
“They are not missing. Udarbe and [Goayon] were arrested at Barangay Patag by virtue of a court-issued arrest warrant according to our records,” said PNP-10 regional director Chief Supt. Timoteo Pacleb in a statement.
Both persons, Pacleb said, claimed they were farmers, but arresting officers seized from in possession firearms, fragmentation grenades and subversive documents during the arrest.
Udarbe and Goaynon will also undergo “inquest proceedings in court for illegal possession of firearms and explosives,” said PNP-10 spokesperson Supt. Surki Sereñas, in the same statement.
According to an advisory issued by the human rights group Karapatan, Goaynon and Udarbe left their office in Barangay Bulua and were on their way to a meeting when they texted that they were stuck in traffic at around 11 a.m. on Monday.
“The two never got to their meeting place. None of their relatives or friends have seen or heard from them afterwards,” the advisory said.
Prior to the arrest, Goaynon filed a complaint against the Philippine Army’s 65th Infantry Battalion for “harassment and forced surrender.”
Karapatan secretary-general Kristina Palabay, in a statement, said that what happened to Udarbe and Goaynon is just one of the many instances of harassment against leaders of militant groups, especially peasants and tribal peoples. (davaotoday.com)