DAVAO CITY – Tribal evacuees in a church compound here, together with its support groups filed charges Friday afternoon against 28 government officials and tribal leaders affiliated with a paramilitary group after the July 23 foiled “rescue” of evacuees.
The complainants filed charges against officials and members of Police Regional Office (PRO) XI, Davao City Police Office (DCPO), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Commission on the Indigenous People (NCIP), Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), paramilitary group Alamara, and North Cotabato 2nd District Representative Nancy Catamco.
At 5:00 pm today the group trooped to the Department of Justice here to file charges pertaining to violations of seven provisions of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines including Usurpation of Authority or Official Function, Physical Injuries Inflicted in a Tumultuous Affray, Serious Physical Injuries, Qualified Trespass to Dwelling, Grave Threats, Grave Coercion, Malicious Mischief.
One of the compainants and a tribal leader, Datu Benito Bay-ao said that they filed the complaints because “[Rep. Nancy] Catamco brought police, military, and Alamara group with her and broke in our sanctuary’s [UCCP Haran] gate.”
Bay-ao said, “Naghatag sya og kasamok sa amoa sa iyang pagdala sa mga militar ug Alamara (She brought turmoil after bringing with her the military and Alamara).”
“[Catamco] did not listen to our problem, that we made Haran our sanctuary because of the military’s presence in our communities and forcing us to take arms and join the Alamara,” Bay-ao said
One of the complainants, Malaya Genotiva, spokesperson of youth group Anakbayan said that they filed the case “to hold (the respondents) accountable of the trouble they brought to Haran last July 23.”
“They didn’t even have legal documents with them,” she said.
On July 23, policemen forced their way in the compound of UCCP Haran to “rescue” the lumad evacuees to return them to their respective communities.
At least 15 were injured from both sides during the commotion.
Genotiva also said that aside from filing cases against the group of Catamco, they are also continuing their online petition to “Remove Rep. Nancy Catamco as chair of the House Committee on National Cultural Communities.”
The online petition describes Catamco as “a tyrant and protector of big firms out to steal lumad lands.”
“The House of Representatives cannot be a party to the violent acts instigated and encouraged by Catamco,” it added.
Aside from Datu Bay-ao and Genotiva, other complainants are Bishop Hamuel Tequis of UCCP Southern Mindanao Jurisdiction, Rev. Sarly Rhaman D. Templado, Rev. Ryan Magpayao, Evelyn Carias, Nesryn Ilang, Datu Jimboy Duyan Mandagit, Ado Sampag Tomagsa, Biboy Manlaped, Melanio Tiklunay, Onor Tumagsa, Bodie Unlaray, Jimboy Tumbasay, Botchoy Tumagsa, Sikito Baulan, Biboy Lugsi, Julius Tiklunay, Manuel Mantog, and Eric Maurag.
The respondents included in the affidavit of complaint are Catamco, Col. Marvin Pepino, Deputy City Director of DCPO, Col. Filmore Escobal, Head of PNP Regional Intelligence Office, Col. Jake Obligado of Eastern Mindanao Command, and 24 others (see photo below). (davaotoday.com)