13 Lumads Released After 36 Hours of Illegal Detention

March 12, 2010

Davao City —- The Katribu Partylist denounced the arrest and detention for more than 36 hours of 13 farmers–mostly, Lumads–by soldiers of the 25th Infantry Battallion-10th Infantry Division in Monkayo town, Compostela Valley. The Indigenous people’s sectoral partylist group and the Union of Peoples Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) secured the release and custody of the victims yesterday, March 11.

Now in the custody of their relatives and rights groups, the victims narrated how they were wrongfully accused as members of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) and how, worse. they were physically and mentally tortured by their captors.

The 13 — namely Nilo Sinao, 48 yo, Alfonso Mangubat, 45 yo, Edmund Cutor, 19 yo; Francisco Linantod, 19 yo; Emilio Villaniso, Jr., 18 yo; Junrex Linantod, 21 yo; Baden Mangubat, 37 yo; and Roy Villaniso, 20 yo and Mary Jane Yurong, 23 yo, Anastacia Villaniso, 59 yo; and Boicy Villaniso, 23 yo, and two (2) 15 year old girls (minors) — were accosted last March 7 by elements of the 25th IB who accused them as members of the New People’s Army. They were brought to the Philippine National Police station, where, save for the two minors, all eleven were kept behind bars for more than 36 hours without charges filed against them.

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“We condemn this blatant transgression of human rights of hapless civilians and Lumad communities. Time and again, the military has targetted the Lumads in its counter-insurgency operations, now intensified under the Oplan Bantay Laya 2,” said Kerlan Fanagel, Katribu Partylist nominee.


The victims recounted how they were all forced to admit that they were NPA members under pain of death. The three Villanisos were all subjected to physical torture. Their heads were wrapped with plastic cellophanes to suffocate them. They were asked to squat under the heat of the sun for several hours while the 25th IB elements placed piles of rocks or pots on their stretched arms and pointed knives on their necks.

Late charges filed at the Provincial Prosecutors Office in Comval and statements from Monkayo Police Chief Inspector Maj. Rodericko Roy pointed to the victims as suspects in the case of frustrated murder, murder and illegal possession of explosives, linked to a recent skirmish between the NPA and the military where one soldier died and 2 others were wounded.

“When the military loses an officer in combat, they blame and take vengeance on the civilian communities, especially from areas where there are active people’s organizations,” decried Fanagel.

Fanagel also believe that the attacks against their members is part of the GMA-mandated policy to frustrate the participation of the MAKABAYAN coalition in the nearing May elections.

Katribu said prior to the 13 victims of torture and illegal detention, 7 lumads and farmers from Sta. Cruz who are also Katribu and Anakpawis leaders and members have been slapped with trumped-up charges by the 39th IB, which is also under the 10th Infantry Division.

KATRIBU said it wont back out against its detractors, be it Mrs. Arroyo herself, Defense Chief Gonzales or 10thID Chief Holganza.

Counter cases set to be filed against the 25th IB – 10th ID are being prepared by UPLM lawyers together with the victims.

Kerlan Fanagel
4th Nominee/ Regional Coordinator
Katribu Partylist

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