Karapatan sounds the alarm on abduction and illegal arrest of former priest, four others in Cebu, Mindoro and Eastern Samar

"Three individuals remain missing since their arrest in Cebu on November 9, while another peasant leader remains in the custody of the police in Marabut, Eastern Samar. The offensive of State security forces against members and leaders of progressive organizations have no doubt intensified, as Duterte unleashes his fascist and militarist policies. Duterte sings when his imperialist masters ask him to sing, to the tune of curtailing people's rights. Duterte himself does not care for people's rights - a trait he shares with Trump and other leaders of imperialist countries,” said Karapatan deputy secretary general Jigs Clamor. 

On November 9, 2017, at around 5pm, combined elements of PNP and AFP went to the farm of Rustico Tan at Brgy. Palaminya, Oslob, Cebu. When they did not find Tan, authorities instead abducted Lopito Paquigbao and Eddie Cullamat, both farm workers of Tan. Tan is a former priest of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSC). He was one of the peace negotiators during the Corazon Aquino administration peacetalks between GRP and NDFP. Currently, he is into sustainable agriculture in his hometown in Oslob, Cebu.

As of this writing,  the PNP in Oslob relayed information that Tan, Paquigbao and Cullamat are in the custody of the AFP Central Command in Camp Lapu-Lapu, Cebu City. Their whereabouts are yet to be confirmed, ans the three remains missing. 

The following day,  on November 10, a local leader of a peasant organization was arbitrary arrested by elements of the 87th IBPA. Carlito Badillo, leader of Tag-alag Farmers and Fisherfolk Association was abducted in front of a school in Tag-alag, Marabut, Eastern Samar, after sending his children to school at around 7am. The 87th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA), in a radio outfit, disclosed that they have Badillo in their custody.

Badillo is currently under the custody of Marabut Municipal PoliceStation. According to initial information, trumped-up charges of rebellion and illegal possession of explosives were filed against Badillo.

Also on November 10, at 11pm, Emelia Marquez, 29, one of the health workers arrested last 2010 in a mass arrest known as the Morong 43, was abducted by members of the 203rd Brigade of the Philippine Army led by Corporal Marcos Magnaye at the Medical Mission Group Hospital at Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro. Marquez was attending to her two-month old baby, who is critically ill. 

"As of September 30, 2017, there are 28 political prisoners languishing in different detention centers in Eastern Visayas. 13 of these political prisoners are ailing. In the whole country, there are 435 political prisoners, 94 were arrested and currently detained under Duterte administration," Clamor said, citing that attacks and illegal arrest will worsen in light of the AFP and PNP's formation of the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA) last October 2017 which will further legitimize and systematize the political persecution, illegal arrest, and detention of vocal critics of the Duterte regime's anti-people policies. 

"Instead of heeding the demands of peasant organizations, the Duterte administration is blatantly disregarding the plight of farmers and have continued to violate their political,  economic,  and social  rights. We also call on Duterte to release all political prisoners and stop the arrests, harassment and criminalization of the work of political activists. The Duterte administration must also junk Oplan Kapayapaan, a counterinsurgency program patterned under the US counterinsurgency guide, which seeks to curtail dissent and forego people's rights to protect the interest of the few,” Clamor concluded. ###

Reference: Roneo Clamor, Deputy Secretary General, +63 999 772 1233

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-979058