Rights group condemns military deception in arrest of couple in Bohol

Human rights alliance Karapatan condemns in strongest terms the trumped-up charges against couple Reynaldo and Carmelita Camacho, who were arrested by the elements of the 47th Infantry Battalion (IB) without a warrant nor any legal basis in their home at Brgy. Tolang, Getafe, Bohol last February 8, 2020.

Reynaldo, according to their neighbors, is an upright citizen of Brgy. Tolang and even ran for councilor in the recent elections. He is currently a volunteer for the local peace and order group Bantay Bayan as well as a catechist of the Sto. Niño in Gestafe.

According to Eulalia Camacho Pacanza, elements of the 47th IB barged into their home after raiding three houses and one sari-sari store, and took their belongings including cellphones, a laptop, and PHP 18,000 worth of cash before “inviting” Reynaldo without declaring an arrest and boarding him in a white van. His wife Carmelita volunteered to accompany him to assure his safety. The couple are now being tagged and paraded by the military as arrested top leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) with guns and bombs allegedly confiscated from the couple.

“State terrorism, after all, is a lucrative business. It’s no wonder that the military is now rabidly manufacturing lies from photoshopping rebel surrenderees, planting guns and bombs in raids of offices of progressive organizations, to proliferating fake news of catching big fish of the NPA by staging arrests of innocent individuals through trumped-up charges as part of their modus operandi to collect thousands of pesos worth of bounty in their fascist counterinsurgency operations under Executive Order No. 70,” Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor said.

He further averred that the couple’s arrest was done by the virtue of a recycled and already dismissed case: “The case now being lodged against the Camacho couple was previously employed in the arrests of Roy Erecre in Davao in May 2014 and Fr. Rustico Tan in Oslob, Cebu in November 2017. Both the charges against Erecre and Fr. Tan were eventually dismissed, and we urge that this malicious allegations against them be immediately junked for the very simple reason that it is nothing but an already proven lie.”

“Karapatan joins the family of Reynaldo and Carmelita Camacho in demanding justice for their illegal arrest and in the dropping of the trumped-up charges and allegations against them. We also urge the Commission on Human Rights to investigate and hold accountable the deceptive military and their attacks on people’s rights,” the Karapatan official ended.