Farmer activist decries police’s ‘excessive force’ in arrest of fellow leader

Aug. 10, 2017

Compostela Valley (

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A farmer leader in Compostela Valley has condemned the arrest as excessive of another farmer leader in the province.

In a phone interview with Davao Today, Compostela Farmers Association Chairperson Noli Villanueva said three police officers in plain clothes, led by Compostela Police Chief Police Senior Inspector Marvin Hugos arrested another farmer leader, 44-year old Inday Senanggote at around 4 pm.

Senanggote was one of the leaders of another farmers group, the San Isidro Maparat Farmers Association.

Villanueva said the arrest took place in a National Housing Authority project which was intended for victims of the Typhoon Pablo. He said there were more than 800 of them occupying the houses built by the NHA.

He said the houses were still unfinished after five years, so they began occupying the houses on April this year.

Villanueva said they tried to reason with the police officers and asked if they had a warrant of arrest against Senanggote. Villanueva said a tug of war between them and the police officers trying to arrest Senanggote ensued when no warrant was shown.

He said Hugos punched him in the head and then in his stomach when they succeeded in pulling Senanggote back.

Villanueva added that Hugos also landed punches on another 60-year old woman.

“Ako nanalipud ko kay Inday mao to akong gipugnangan nga mag isturya sa ta. Kay pugsanon man gyud nila kuhaon si Inday mao to nipugong ko. Pagpugong nako gisagpa man nuon ko (I was only protecting Inday that’s why it tried to stop them and have a conversation. Because they forcible took Inday that’s why I pulled back. When I did, I was slapped),” Villanueva said.

“Mao nang nahitabo diri kagahapon ug mao lagi na ang kahimtang namo mga lider mag-uuma makabalaka ba, kining kahimtang sa martial law. Nga dili na ka halos paisturyahon kay gamiton gyud nila ang batas military (That’s what happened here yesterday, and that’s how we, farmer leaders are treated here. This Martial Law is worrying. You almost can’t speak, because they will really use the Martial Law on us),” he added.

In a separate phone interview, Police Regional Office 11 spokesperson Police Senior Inspector Catherine Dela Rey told Davao Today that the team led by Hugos had been serving an arrest warrant for qualified theft.

She said Hugos and his men were indeed in plainclothes so as not to attract attention and alert Senanggote before they could serve their warrant. She said this arrest was permissible because a police vehicle was parked a few meters away from the housing settlement.

Dela Rey said Hugos admitted that they used a “little” force because Senanggote and her companions resisted arrest. However, she said Hugos denied any act of slapping or punching.

“During sa pag serve nila sa warrant of arrest naa man guy kauban si Senanggote. Gitry nila nga dili madala sa pulis. Nigamit silag gamayng force para lang mabira nila si Inday Senanggote (When they were serving the arrest warrant, Senanggote had companions who tried to prevent the police from arresting her. So they used a little force to seize Inday Senanggote),” she said. (

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