Aquino regime targets leaders of Cagayan Valley people’s orgs

Some 69 leaders of progressive people’s organizations and partylist groups in Cagayan Valley region are the latest victims of the BS Aquino regime’s practice of filing trumped-up criminal charges. “The regime has done it again in an attempt “to silence opposition and prevent them from amplifying the people’s demand for justice amid intensifying human rights violations in the region,” said Karapatan Chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez.

Among the 69 individuals charged with three counts of kidnapping with homicide are Isabelo Adviento, Chairperson of Kagimungan peasant organization and Anakpawis partylist nominee; Femie Galapon, Chairperson National Union of Students in the Philippine-Cagayan Valley and convenor of Rise4Education; Agnes Mesina, Regional Coordinator of Save the Valley and Rural Missionaries of the Philippines; Randy Malayao, Convenor of Bayan Cagayan Valley and Makabayan Vice President for Luzon; and Romella Liquigan, Regional Coordinator of Karapatan-Cagayan Valley and Gabriela Women’s Partylist. The 69 leaders and individuals include the 20 individuals who were earlier charged with the same case in August 2015 on mere suspicion that they are members/supporters of the NPA. 

The complaint was filed by relatives of two members of the 17th IB-PA and a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) whom they claimed were abducted and killed by the New People’s Army (NPA). The complaint was filed in July at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in Tuguegarao City. 

A number of the accused are unknown to the leaders of people’s organizations while some participated in the two fact-finding missions held in the town of Rizal in Zinundangan Valley. Elements of the 17th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army under the 5th Infantry Division have been conducting military operations in the area since February 2015. 

“The operations, expectedly, resulted in abuses and human rights violations such as extrajudicial killing, torture, abduction and illegal detention, illegal searches, encampment in barangay halls, health centers and civilian houses.” The indigenous groups of Aggay, Malaweg, and Kalinga are among the most affected by the military operations. 

“This is the same tyrannical act the BS Aquino regime used in Mindanao, among the leaders in Davao City and General Santos City—filing trumped-up criminal charges against those who work with the victims of rights violations. Now, they want to suppress the voices of those in Cagayan Valley against the rising cases of military abuses in the region,” said Hilao-Enriquez. 

Hilao-Enriquez said the filing of trumped-up criminal charges was used during Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya through the Inter-agency Legal Action Group or IALAG. “Though IALAG was abolished, the practice is very much alive in Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan. Aquino is using the same legal offensive against those who help the poor.” 

Abducted member of Aggay tribe

On October 1, Mennong Danao (earlier reported as Lenor Danao), an Aggay, was abducted by about 25 elements of the 17th IB-PA in the presence of his family. The soldiers brought with them Danao after they illegally searched the hut occupied of Danao. A few minutes later, the soldiers claimed they found a rifle outside Danao’s hut. Danao was found today in the custody of the Philippine National Police-Rizal, Cagayan after he was turned over by the military. He now faces charges for violation of RA10591 or illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.


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