DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Human rights group Barug Katungod Mindanao condemned the arrest of a lumad and peasant leaders Datu Jomorito Goaynon and Ireneo Udarbe in Cagayan de Oro on “false criminal charges and planted evidence.”
Barug Katungod Mindanao spokesperson Ryan Amper said that the arrest of the two leaders “constitute an abduction” by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police in Northern Mindanao.
“The abduction and eventual surfacing of Goaynon and Udarbe only after their disappearance was hyped through social media reminds us of Hitler’s Gestapo police which willfully violated due process, implemented secret interrogation techniques, and resorted to fabricating criminal charges against political dissenters,” Amper emphasized.
Amper said that CIDG-PNP colluded with the 65th IB in “abducting” Goaynon and Udarbe, after “exposing their abuses against Lumad and peasants in communities of Northern Mindanao.”
Datu Goaynon is the chairperson of Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization, while Udarbe is the chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, both in Northern Mindanao.
Goaynon and Udarbe were reported missing on Monday, January 28 after leaving their office in Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City at past ten in the morning.
The two were on their way to a meeting with a member organization of Kalumbay and a dialogue with the army’s 65th Infantry Battalion.
The dialogue was supposed to be facilitated by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in the area.
On Tuesday, January 29, the Police Regional Office in Region 10 announced the arrest of Goaynon and Udarbe.
PNP-10 regional director Chief Supt. Timoteo Pacleb said the two were arrested by virtue of a warrant was issued by Judge Emmanuel Pasal of the Regional Trial Court Branch 38 in Cagayan de Oro City.
The two were accused of four counts of attempted murder and frustrated murder, Pacleb said.
Arrest done by military, not police
Citing the account from the lawyers of the two leaders, Barug Katungod said that it was the military who arrested the two, allegedly upon the request of the CIDG for the military to “assist” them.
“It is preposterous for the CIDG to ask for so-called assistance from the military. It could well be that the CIDG was only used as “stage props” by the military to legitimize their illegal operations,” Amper said.
Authorities said that Goaynon and Udarbe were arrested on the basis of a warrant of arrest issued by a local court in Cagayan de Oro. But Amper said that the warrant only had the name of Udarbe as accused, thus, Goaynon’s arrest was ‘illegal’.
Amper also took note that the warrant for Udarbe was issued last year, and Udarbe already posted bail for the five charges filed against him on January 10.
Last January 22, Pig-uyonan with Datu Goaynon, filed a complaint against the 65th IB for harassment and forced surrender. Goaynon also complained about a tarpaulin bearing his picture hanged in Talakag, Bukidnon, accusing him of recruiting the lumad to the New People’s Army (NPA).
Goaynon and Udarbe were tagged by the police as “top NPA leaders” claiming that firearms, fragmentation grenades, and subversive documents were seized from the two during the arrest.
Amper said that both Goaynon and Udarbe have been vocal critics of the Duterte government’s Oplan Kapayapaan and Martial Law in Mindanao.
“The January 28 arrest of Goaynon and Udarbe based on false criminal charges and planted evidence bespeaks of a government that resorts to reprisals against leaders and activists who effectively and persistently expose its transgressions on people’s rights,” said Bishop Antonio Ablon, convenor of Barug Katungod Mindanao.
Ablon said that Duterte’s rhetorics to follow Hitler, Suharto, and other mass murderers “have translated into marching orders for the PNP and AFP to arrest, maim, or kill civilians and massacre communities.
“Duterte’s orders have clearly emboldened state agents to circumvent due process and do illegal and criminal acts to please their master tyrant in Malacanang,” Ablon added. (davaotoday.com)