Eduardo Serrano criminalized and jailed for serving the Mangyan and peasants—Karapatan

publicinfo: Jan 13 01:10PM +0800

Press Statement
January 13, 2016

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831

Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580

Eduardo Serrano criminalized and jailed for serving the Mangyan and peasants—Karapatan

“For the BS Aquino regime, serving the people and aspiring for a just and lasting peace are considered crimes,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general said as the remains of political prisoner Eduardo Serrano arrived in his hometown in Naga City. “Eduardo Serrano’s ‘crime’ was to help develop the farming techniques of the Mangyan tribe and the farmers in Mindoro. For this, he suffered 11 years in jail for trumped-up cases of murder and frustrated murder,” Palabay continued.

“Instead of supporting their noble cause, the Philippine Government abducts, tortures, detains, and kills individuals and activists who fight for genuine change. Those who are in prison are charged with fabricated
criminal cases to keep them in jail,”Palabay said.

In the case of Serrano, the 204th Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army filed several charges against a certain Rogelio Villanueva and claimed that Serrano was Villanueva. “It took 11 long years for the judiciary to decide on the question of Serrano’s true identity. Sadly, Serrano’s body could no longer wait to witness all his cases to be dismissed,” Palabay said. Serrano died on January 8, 2016 at the Philippine Heart Center after a series of heart attacks.

Serrano was a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines for the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Rights (CASER). Like all the 18 detained NDFP peace consultants, Serrano was a protected person under the GPH-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). “The Aquino presidency, since the beginning, has shown no respect for the previously signed agreements with the NDFP and continues to violate these agreements,” she added.

As of November 30, 2015, there are 561 political prisoners all over the country, 304 of them were arrested under the Aquino regime.

“Dominiciano Muya, also an agriculturist like Serrano was also arrested for trumped-up criminal charges in 2014,” Palabay cited. At the time of his arrest, Muya had with him Php 40,000, which was intended for the
reconstruction of the schoolhouse of STTILC brought down by the typhoon Pablo. The soldiers took the money. Muya was a consultant of the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Learning Center (STTILC), a community-based Lumad school. He had a Php 4.8 million on his head by virtue of the Joint Order (JO) 14-2012 of the Department of National Defense and the Department of the lnterior and Local Government, signed by former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas and DND Sec. Voltaire Gazmin. The JO bears the names of so-called communist leaders with corresponding reward money. Muya is still in jail.

“The BS Aquino government is threatened by the people serving those who have less in life because they highlight the regime’s criminal negligence and contempt for poor, and its puppetry to the interests of the local elites and foreign big business. Thus, the criminalization of people’s actions to overcome the ills that beset the country are meant to keep the servants of the people in jail; just as what happened to Serrano,” Palabay said.

Karapatan demands an end to the government’s practice of criminalizing political activities and the filing of fabricated criminal charges against the people acting for genuine and lasting peace in the country.

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