By RUTH LUMIBAO
MANILA – An activist in Northern Luzon was arrested tonight, Dec. 12 in Ilocos Sur province.
At around 7:30 p.m., Karapatan issued an urgent alert that Sherwin De Vera, regional coordinator of the environmental group Defend Ilocos, was illegally arrested by the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bulag, Bantay, Ilocos Sur.
De Vera was a former staff of the Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (Karapatan). He is also a member of the Amianan Salakniban, a human rights network in Northern Luzon and a columnist of progressive media outfit Northern Dispatch.
De Vera was on board a Partas bus when the PNP flagged down the vehicle at a checkpoint. The police went to De Vera at his seat and told him that he was being arrested. When he asked for a copy of the warrant of arrest, however, the police was not able to produce one, and he was only informed that a rebellion case was already filed against him.
It was only when he was already in the PNP Office that he was shown a copy of the complaint, Case No. 2014-155. The case was allegedly filed in Abra on September 4, 2014.
As of press time, he is being held in Camp Elpidio Quirino, Bulag, Bantay, Ilocos Sur.
Earlier this year, on July 18, De Vera was subjected to military surveillance when he visited the University of Northern Philippines in Vigan City. The following day, he was informed by his friends in the university that elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) asked the campus security department about his activities.