May 18, 2015
Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580
“BS Aquino cannot hide his failed governance and inept leadership behind the spate of killings and mass arrests of civilians especially those in remote villages. We have said this before, we will say it again: illegal arrests and human rights violations only worsen the state of unpeace and will not amount to anything as long as the root causes of the armed conflict remain unsolved,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general said as she scored the series of arrests in Bukidnon province in the last two months.
On April 5, at around 8:00 p.m. Jovito Anlagan Sr., his wife, Emely, six of their children, all minors except for Jovito Anlagan Jr., left for Cagayan de Oro City aboard a Nissan Terrano driven by a relative Charito Eslao. Eslao gave the Anlagans a free ride. Also aboard were Charlito Eslao, brother of Charito and nephew Crisabel Eslao; and Arden Jay Valendez and Daniel Ped-Ac.
While driving on the national highway, they were flagged down by elements of the 104th Maneuver Battalion of the Philippine National Police at Alae, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. The next thing they knew, they were already accused of possession of one caliber.45 pistol, one KG-9 sub-machine gun, live ammunitions, and three issues of “Ang Bayan,” a publication of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Earlier that day, at 10:00 a.m., Lt. Col. Nasser Lidasan, Commanding Officer of the 1st Special Forces Battalion facilitated a barangay meeting in Sil-ipon, Libona, Bukidnon. Anlagan Jr. attended the said meeting. He heard Lt. Col. Lidasan accused the members of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) as “supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA)” and the local organization Kalumbay Lumad as “NPA front.” Lt. Col. Lidasan also accused some residents of Sil-ipon as “NPA supporters.” He offered cash rewards to those who will surrender firearms to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Lt. Col. Lidasan even warned there are residents of Sil-ipon who have standing cases in court with pending warrants of arrest. Little did Anlagan Jr. know that Col. Lidasan was referring to his family, until they were arrested that night.
On his way home, Anlagan Jr. noticed six soldiers in civilian clothes tailing him. When he arrived home, Anlagan Jr. was confronted by the military, alleging that he is an NPA member and convincing him to surrender. Anlagan Jr. refuted their accusations. Anlagan Sr. confronted the military, which ended in a heated argument. One of the soldiers punched Anlagan Sr. in the abdomen.
That evening, the Anlagan family was on the road to Cagayan de Oro City to save their lives from the military’s ire.
The eight individuals are now languishing in jail with charge of illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions. The five minors, with ages ranging from 6 to 17, were released under the custody of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development after two days of detention.
Three farmers tortured
Last March 14 at 8:00 a.m., while resting at an aunt’s house in Sitio Minalong, Barangay Kahusayan, Kitaotao, Bukidnon, Henry Omandam, 19, Vergil Pitogo, 23, and Johnrey Flores, 18, were arrested by some 30 elements of the Philippine Army led by Cpl. Maynard Silvestre and Cpl. Louis. They were accused to be members of the New People’s Army. The military claimed the three were involved in an ambush against the military, which happened in March 10.
Omandam and Flores were hogtied facing the ground and were left under the heat of the sun for an hour. They were later interrogated separately. Pitogo was made to lie on the ground. A soldier stomped on his stomach, slapped his face and was ordered to lie flat facing the ground.
The three men were brought to Kipolot Army Patrol base and later turned-over to the Quezon Municipal Police station. On March 16, they were again transferred to the Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (PDRC) in Malaybalay City, facing charges of illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives.
Omandam, Flores, and Pitogo are farmers who are cultivating a piece of land owned by their grandparents. At the time of their arrest, they were gathering “giyong” (shrubs used as soft broom) and making charcoal while waiting for the next planting season. ###
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.