7 activists arrested in a week

On Sunday, Feb. 12, elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Region and the Philippine Army’s Intelligence Service Group arrested Ferdinand Castillo, campaign officer of Bayan Metro Manila around 4:20 p.m. in Sta. Quiteria, Caloocan City.

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat

MANILA — Instead of fulfilling its promise to release all political prisoners, the Duterte administration arrested and detained seven activists in just a week.

On Sunday, Feb. 12, elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Region and the Philippine Army’s Intelligence Service Group arrested Ferdinand Castillo, campaign officer of Bayan Metro Manila around 4:20 p.m. in Sta. Quiteria, Caloocan City.

In a text message sent to the media, the Philippine National Police (PNP) claimed that Castillo is the secretary of Metro Manila Regional Party Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines. The CIDG further claimed that they confiscated a .45 pistol from Castillo.

Human rights alliance Karapatan said Castillo was handcuffed and blindfolded for almost four hours after his arrest, brought to a safehouse and interrogated by suspected intelligence agents. By 9:00 p.m. , he was brought to the CIDG office inside Camp Crame in Quezon City. Castillo was then presented an arrest warrant for murder and attempted murder filed at the Regional Trial Court Branch 63 in Calauag, Quezon.

Ferdinand Castillo (in orange shirt) is escorted by elements of the CIDG. (Photo courtesy of Bayan-Metro Manila)
Ferdinand Castillo (in orange shirt) is escorted by elements of the CIDG. (Photo courtesy of Bayan-Metro Manila)

Castillo is the latest victim in a series of arrests of political activists after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana declared an all-out war against the CPP, New People’s Army (NPA) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Like Castillo, the other six were also branded as communist guerrillas but have been charged with common crimes.

The Hernandez political doctrine and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) prohibit criminalization of political offenses.

Development workers

Two development workers, one in Baguio City and another in Bacolod City, were also arrested by authorities.

Sarah Abellon-Alikes of Regional Development Center – Katinnulong dagiti Umili ti Amianan (RDC-Kaduami) was arrested by soldiers around 9 a.m. , Feb. 9 while she was on her way to downtown Baguio City, according to the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA). The CPA said that Abellon-Alikes was detained for two days without charges and it was only on FEb. 11 that she was charged with arson and robbery. She was released after posting bail.

Meanwhile, two days earlier, Rogina Quilop, administrative officer of the Center for People’s Resources and Services, Inc. (CPRS) was arrested by elements of the PNP-CIDG in Bacolod City.

Rogina Quilop (in green vest and polo) repacks relief good for victims of Haiyan last year. (Photo courtesy of CPRS)
Rogina Quilop (in green vest and polo) repacks relief good for victims of Haiyan last year. (Photo courtesy of CPRS)

In a statement, the CPRS said the name in the arrest warrant is Rowena Navarro and not Rogina Quilop. Despite Quilop’s lawyer’s protestation, authorities refused to release Quilop.

On Feb. 6, NDFP consultant Ariel Arbitrario and his two companions Jun Sinday and Roderick Mamuyac were arrested at a military checkpoint in Toril, Davao City. http://bulatlat.com/main/2017/02/07/order-arrest-ndfp-consultants-no-legal-basis-lawyer/ Mamuyac and Sinday were eventually released. http://bulatlat.com/main/2017/02/10/building-unions-not-crime-court-dismisses-armed-forces-case-labor-organizer/

On Feb. 4, Edison Villanueva, a volunteer of Gabriela-Southern Tagalog, was also arrested by elements of the 76th Infantry Battalion of the Army’s 203rd Brigade in barangay Pinagturilan, Sta. Cruz, Occidental Mindoro.

According to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Occidental Mindoro, Villanueva was tagged by the military as a NPA guerrilla.

More arrests feared

On Feb. 6, following Duterte’s declaration of cancellation of peace talks with the NDFP, PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa ordered the arrest of 13 NDFP consultants who have been released on bail.

NDFP consultants Alan Jazmines and Tirso Alcantara are scheduled for arraignment today at the Taguig Regional Trial Court. (http://bulatlat.com)

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