Lumad leaders slapped with fake charges in Talakag, Bukidnon

Arthur May-may and Pelino Hugnaan, active members of the Higaonon Lumad group Pig-uyonan, were falsely charged with harassment, direct assault, and frustrated murder by Bukidnon Provincial Public Safety Company PSINP Edwin F. Ipan, PO2 Jun Mark L. Suico, and security guard Julito Sacona.

In his complaint, Salicona claimed May-may and Hugnaan “harassed” the convenience store where he is working on October 27, 2017 in Purok 3, Brgy San Rafael, Talakag, Bukidnon. The two allegedly fired at the store with M16 and baby armalite rifles. He also claims that he saw the two men run away when the PNP Special Forces arrived. These were supported by Ipan and Suico who claimed to have given chase to the two.

The police, in their statement, said that on October 27, they tried to approach Maymay—who they claim was acting suspiciously—but he allegedly fired at them and so they gave chase. Despite not catching up with Maymay, they reported to have retrieved his alleged weapons and ammunition.”

May-May and Hugnaan denied the accusations against them. Hugnaan said he was nowhere near San Rafael 3 during the alleged incident as he has been living in Brgy. Dominorog since October 5, 2017.

For his part, May-may said that on the said date and time, he was at his house right beside his farm in Sitio Puga of the same Barangay, where he has lived for 8 years now. While he does have a house at Purok 3, he rarely goes there.

A neighbor of May-may in Purok 3, in his sworn statement, claimed he saw the policemen and Salicona enter May-may’s uninhabited house on October 7. When the men emerged from the house, he overheard Salicona shouting that the house is unoccupied and no firearms were found. He saw the same men go around another uninhabited house in the neighborhood. It was here that Salicona – and not the two accused – appeared with a baby armalite and started firing indiscriminately.

The said witness then saw his neighbor Julito Dumagat running away from the house, apparently terrified by the gunshots. Dumagat was apprehended by the policemen and was used as a guide in the village.

Pig-uyonan has been very vocal against the expansion of banana and palm oil plantations in their ancestral domain in Talakag, Bukidnon. According to Datu Jomorito Goaynon, chairperson of Kalumbay Lumad Regional Organization, the filing of trumped up charges and other attacks against leaders and members of Lumad groups are intended to silence them. And these attacks intensified with the declaration and re-extension of martial law in Mindanao.

to the Philippine Government by writing to:

H.E. Rodrigo Roa Duterte
President, Republic of the Philippines
New Executive Building
Malacanang Palace
Compound JP Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila
1005 Philippines
Tel: +6327356201/5641451 to 80

Hon. Vitaliano N. Aguirre II
Secretary, Department of Justice Email: vnaguirre@doj.gov.ph; info@doj.gov.ph; communications@doj.gov.ph

Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission On Human Rights
Telefax: 929-0102, 928-5655, 926-6188
E-mail: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com

Atty. Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo
Chairperson, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
Tel: 373-97-87
Email: chairpersonsoffice@gmail.com

Hon. Jose Ma. Zubiri
Governor, Province of Bukidnon
Tel: (088) 221-2523; (088) 813-3845

Copy furnish your letters to info@rmp-nmr.org

For more information, contact us at:

Higala sa Lumad Network
Room 01, Kalinaw Lanao Center for Interfaith Resources
0016 Bougainvilla Puti, Villaverde
9200 Iligan City, Philippines
T/F: +63 (63) 223 5179
E: info@rmp-nmr.org

Katungod Lumad Alert is published by the ‘Higala sa Lumad’ [Friends of the Lumad] Network.

‘Higala sa Lumad’ Network is a support group composed of a broad range of interfaith personalities/representative of organizations synergizing relevant capacities and resources for Lumad communities under attack. ‘Higala’ also serves as an informal monitoring network for Lumad human rights. ‘Higala’ has been established as a component of the ‘Healing the Hurt’ Project.

Published with support from the European Union.

This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of RMP-NMR and ‘Healing the Hurt’ Project partners and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.