DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Updated as of 11:58 pm) — Four leaders of progressive groups were held for hours at a military checkpoint here Wednesday night.
Jay Apiag, spokesperson of Karapatan Southern Mindanao Region told Davao Today in a telephone interview that around 7 pm he received a text message from his colleague and Karapatan SMR Secretary General Hanimay Suazo that she along with three others were being held in the Task Force Davao checkpoint in Lasang, this city for questioning.
Apiag said Suazo was with Pedro Arnado, chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-SMR chairperson, Jerry Alborme, spokesperson of KMP in North Cotabato, and Lito Lao, spokesperson of Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura in Southern Mindanao.
“They came from Tagum City where they held a consultation with local farmers groups regarding human rights violations experienced by farmers under Martial Law. Hanimay was there to document these cases,” Apiag said.
Apiag said Suazo was cleared by the members of the Task Force Davao around 8pm.
Meanwhile, Apiag said Alborme and Arnado have undergone a background check and were cleared at around 11 pm.
“They said they were held because they are ‘suspicious-looking’. They even said Pedro Arnado is alias Bobby of the New People’s Army,” he said.
Apiag said Lao was held until 11:55 because of a case of qualified theft which, he said, was already dismissed last December 20, 2016.
Lao was the former vice chairperson of KMP in the region and was arrested in Kapalong town, Davao del Norte on October 7, 2014 for qualified theft.
Apiag said they gave a copy of the said order to the military.
The TFD has yet to issue a statement as of press time. (davaotoday.com)