By Hanah Tabios
Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) claimed on Sunday that law enforcers involved in the capture of some activists in Bacolod City have planted some evidence during last week’s series of raids.
In a statement, the group said the raids “show how low the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have sunk in their effort to comply with President Rodrigo Duterte’s orders to crack down on activists and political dissenters.”
This, after PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-6 (CIDG) and the AFP’s 3rd Infantry Division, Joint Task Force-Negros, and Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office raided the offices of militant and rights group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Gabriela Negros Center, and the Negros Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) on Thursday as they were armed with search warrants.
BAYAN said the “tanim ebidensya modus” goes in a way that authorities obtained a search warrant “from a friendly, uninformed or intimidated judge” from Quezon City which was outside the area of jurisdiction where the operation was made.
It will be recalled that it was Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Cecilyn E. Burgos-Villavert of Branch 89 who issued the document.
She was earlier reported to have met and had a dialogue with Metro Manila acting chief Police Brigadier General Debold Sinas at the Quezon City Hall of Justice prior to the massive crackdown on activists.
“Occupants of the raided office or home are forced to go outside while police operatives, some in plain clothes, come into the search area,” the group said.
“All persons are then arrested, detained and interrogated for prolonged periods while being denied their right to their lawyer or to be visited by relatives and friends,” it added.
The group even recalled the unfortunate fate of peasants in Canlaon City and in the towns of Manjuyod and Sta. Catalina where 14 of them were allegedly killed by the police while serving such search warrants last March 30 of the same year.
BAYAN said to justify and muddle the law enforcer’s illegal conduct, “police and military officials go the rounds of the media vilifying the victims and claiming that the arrested victims are members or supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA).”
They pointed out that the arresting authorities have arrested everyone on sight and included as evidence of wrongdoing t-shirts, leaflets, megaphones, and materials commonly used during legal and legitimate activities.
In fact on Monday, a multisectoral indignation rally was held in front of the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame to denounce the alleged illegal and unjust arrests in Bacolod City and in Paco, Manila last week.
But Sinas defended the arrest of the activists in Manila despite condemnation from various groups.