Cagayan Valley rights group slams Army for false charges vs 69 activists

randy malayao
(Bulatlat file photo: Former political detainee Randy Malayao is among the 69 activists charged with kidnapping and homicide)

“The recent slapping of trumped-up charges of kidnapping and homicide against us 69 individuals bares the despotic and authoritarian nature of this regime.”

By DELIA BAGNI
Northern Dispatch

BAGUIO CITY — A regional human rights group condemned the military for its filing of trumped-up charges against activists and progressive mass leaders, calling it “a cowardly act of the state to silence the people’s democratic movement.”

Karapatan-Cagayan Valley reported that the Philippine Army’s 17th Infantry Battalion (IB) maliciously filed cases of kidnapping with homicide against 69 individuals, including 29 indigenous peoples.

Romella “Mia” Liquigan, regional coordinator of Karapatan-CV said Sgt. Arsenio Villar Capili of the 17th IB accused 29 Aggays and Malawegs as members of the New People’s Army (NPA) under the Danilo Ben command, and filed three counts of kidnapping with homicide against them in July. Capili accused the 29 of the kidnapping and killing of two army intelligence agents and a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) last February 25.

Among the 29 charged were Marlon Baganay, Mendo Bisiotan and Lando Daryuin, who were earlier abducted by operating 17th IB soldiers from their homes in San Juan on July 20. The three were later surfaced on July 23 at a military camp in Lasam, Cagayan. They are now detained at the Cagayan Provincial Jail. Daryuin is around 70 years old and is partially blind.

Liquigan said that when they filed the counter-affidavits of seven of the 29 at the Tuguegarao prosecutor’s office on Sept. 21, they learned that 40 more individuals were falsely charged in the same case.

Liquigan was among the 40 who were charged, along with Isabelo “Buting” Adviento, chairperson of Kaguimungan and Anakpawis nominee; Femie Galapon, chairperson of National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP)-CV and Rise for Education convenor; Emil Dagdag, Piston Isabela coordinator, and former political prisoners Randy Malayao, vice president for Luzon of the Makabayan coalition; Agnes Mesina, Save the Valley and Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) regional coordinator.

Malayao condemned the continuing political repression against leaders and activists of the democratic mass movement. “We vow to militantly confront this head-on,” he said.

“The recent slapping of trumped-up charges of kidnapping and homicide against us 69 individuals bares the despotic and authoritarian nature of this regime,” Malayao added. Northern Dispatch Reposted by ()

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