The CHRA deemed that the transfer “is a ploy to disrupt the hearings of Bangibang’s cases and to lengthen his unjust detention.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance criticized what it called as violations of the rights of a detained consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
According to the CHRA, Gabriel Kennedy Bangibang, a consultant of the NDFP on Cordillera and National Minority Affairs, was forcibly transferred to Baguio City by Bureau of Prisons and Jail Management (BJMP) personnel shortly after the hearing yesterday morning in Tabuk, Kalinga. Bangibang asked for an explanation and the necessary court orders for the transfer but the policemen just forced him into the vehicle that would transport him. Bangibang’s relatives also attempted to prevent the policemen from taking him but they were violently shoved aside by the policemen. None of them were allowed to accompany Bangibang.
Bangibang’s relatives later found out that a court order had been issued three months ago. In an April 19 order, RTC Branch 29 Judge Marcelino K. Wacas said Bangibang’s transfer had been requested by BJMP Tabuk Warden Crispin M. Dornagon, Jr. on the premise that his jail was not secure enough to hold what he referred to as a “high risk” inmate. Dornagon also requested that Bangibang’s hearing venue also be moved to Baguio.
Bangibang’s laywyers, Rito Bungaoen and Francis Calsiyao, did not receive any copy of the order until yesterday morning after Bangibang was taken.
“We condemn the intentional irregularities in the process of transferring Kennedy Bangibang to Baguio,” Jude Baggo, CHRA secretary general, said. “He was forcibly transported like he was being abducted as necessary papers were not given to him or his counsels.”
The group said Bangibang, his counsels and his family were unjustly deprived of the information regarding the court order for transfer for three months and they were also deprived of the right to respond to appeal the court order for the transfer. The CHRA said that authorities behind the transfer should be held accountable.
The CHRA deemed that the transfer “is a ploy to disrupt the hearings of Bangibang’s cases and to lengthen his unjust detention. Bangibang, 51, was arrested on February 23 inside a bus while on his way to Mt. Province. He was charged with 11 common crimes, including murder. One of those cases was dismissed yesterday before the transfer took place.
“We will hold the State and the unit from the BJMP-Kalinga accountable if any harm is done to Bangibang or if there are more irregularities in the transfer committed,” the group said. “The existence of political prisoners in this country and the State’s treatment of them continue to show the failure of the Philippine government to adhere to its obligations to respect human rights.