BACOLOD CITY – A youth peasant organizer of Anakbayan Negros was arrested for alleged illegal possession of firearm, ammunition, and explosives in Barangay Camang-Camang, Isabela, Negros Occidental on Saturday, Feb. 19.
Authorities arrested Harlyn Balora with aliases “Karyle” and “Cristel Hestoria,” 26, of Libertad here.
According to Police Capt. Joseph Partidas, Isabela town police chief, policemen and military men served an arrest warrant for homicide against Romeo Nanta alias “Juanito Magbanua” but the latter was able to evade arrest.
Partidas said Balora was cornered inside the house and police allegedly caught her with a .9mm Luger KG9 chamber loaded with one live ammunition, a KG9 magazine loaded with 8 live ammunition, three CTG 40mm, HEDP M433 explosives, a fragmentation grenade, and several subversive documents.
The Kabataan Partylist Negros condemned what it called the illegal arrest of Balora, whom they considered a legitimate youth organizer.
The group, in a statement, said that Balora devoted her time organizing and learning among the peasant masses. “She is not a terrorist, as what state elements would surely call her out to be. Instead, she bravely answered the call of the times to serve the people,” the group said.
The group called for the immediate release of Balora and for the dropping of all charges against her.
“Activism is not a crime. For as long as there is injustice, it is only just to resist,” the group said.
Partidas said that expected such reaction from the progressive group but maintained that their operation was legitimate.
Partidas that if the group is questioning Balora’s arrest, it should just do it in court.
Col. Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), said that Balora could be linked to the New People’s Army (NPA) because she was with Nanta, whom the Army identified as an alleged NPA high-ranking official.
Pasaporte questioned the connection of Balora to Nanta since she was caught with him when the police served Nanta the arrest warrant.
Pasaporte said that some progressive groups are just fronts of the NPA to recruit more individuals to join the armed struggle, citing the raid of the authorities a few years ago here wherein some minors were rescued in the office of a progressive group.