Karapatan raises concerns over arrested NDFP peace consultant

Human rights alliance Karapatan raised concerns over the safety of Eric Jun Casilao, a declared peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the brother of former Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, who was reportedly detained at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport over the weekend.

Casilao, who was arrested en route to Malaysia last April 1, 2023, was brought back to the Philippines on April 17 and is now detained at Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Headquarters in Region 11.

“From the time he was arrested up to the time he arrived at the CIDG, his lawyers and family have not been allowed to see him,” said Karapatan Secretary-General Cristina Palabay. “He has reportedly been interrogated without benefit of counsel by both Malaysian and Philippine authorities while in custody, a clear violation of his constitutional rights,” she added. “Also, he should have been allowed access to a doctor of his choice since he has some medical conditions that need to be attended to.”

“We are likewise concerned about the safety of his wife May Casilao who was reportedly traveling with him,” said Palabay.

“Eric Casilao is facing a slew of trumped-up charges all over Mindanao,” said Palabay. “His arrest has been a nightmare to his family, who fear for his safety since several persons who faced similar accusations in the past in Mindanao have been summarily executed,” she said.

Palabay called on the Philippine government, particularly the Philippine National Police which has custody over Eric Casilao, to respect and ensure the protection of his rights under international and national laws, whatever the charges or accusations against him.”