Alvin Luque Target in Cagayan de Oro Raid

Mar. 07, 2006

Karapatan Lawyer in Surigao Cries Harassment

By Daisy C. Gonzales

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (March 7, 2006) Alvin Luque, one of Davao Citys more prominent personalities from the Left and who has been at odds with the military for years, was apparently the target in the ransacking of the office in this city of the human-rights group Karapatan.

Unidentified people ransacked Karapatans office here Sunday night. Although no important documents or equipment were stolen, the suspects defaced the white board in the office, drawing a caricature of the devil.

The suspects, according to Beverly Musni, Karapatans chairperson for Northern Mindanao, thoroughly searched the bed of Luque, who has been assigned here the past few years as secretary-general for Misamis Oriental of the progressive group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).
It was clear that they were trying to demonize Karapatan and harass Alvin, Musni said. Karapatan and Bayan are allied organizations. This is part of the government witch hunt against progressive groups, she said.

Musni suspected the military of having a hand in the incident, a charge the military denied. Col. Francisco Simbajon, spokesman of the Armys 4th Infantry Division here, denied to the online publication MindaNews that the military was behind the raid.

Before his assignment here, Luque was secretary-general of Bayan in Southern Mindanao. During his stay in Davao City, he ran for a city council seat under the party of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. He lost but he has since been hounded by the military with the accusation that he was a leader of the New Peoples Army going by the alias Ka Venus. Luque has denied the charge, calling it a form of political harassment and intimidation.

Karapatan was one of the members of the newly formed alliance here called Alyansa Kontra 1017 (AK 1017) that has lined up activities here to oppose the alleged crackdown by the government on civil liberties and press freedom. The government began its crack down on the Left since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared a state of national emergency on Feb. 24. Although she lifted the declaration on Friday, progressive groups say the political harassment continue.

In a related development, Antonio Azarcon, a lawyer for Karapatan based in Surigao del Sur, reported on Tuesday that he was harassed by suspicious-looking men, who tailed him today after guesting in a radio show in the morning. He was not harmed.

This was the second time that Azarcon was tailed by unidentified men, according to Karapatan. He has represented victims of military and human-rights abuses in the past and has been a vocal critic in Surigao of the Arroyo administration. He is also a member of the Union of Peoples Lawyers in Mindanao. (Daisy C. Gonzales/

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