3 local tourists nabbed in Sagada, tagged as rebels

Northern Dispatch

BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) condemned police operatives for the illegal arrest and detention of three local tourists in Sagada, Mountain Province, Sept. 9.

CHRA secretary general Jude Baggo identified the three as Aileen Cruz, Rey Busania and Ofelia Inong. On Sept. 9, an undetermined number of fully armed police operatives stormed the lodge where the three were staying, forcibly opened the rooms and, without any explanation or presenting of warrants, the operatives immediately handcuffed Busania and ordered the two women to drop face down on the floor with hands on their back. Without a search warrant, the police operatives also searched their rooms and another adjacent room.

Baggo, who visited the victims at the Bontoc jails, Sept.11, said the police violated the rights of the victims. He enumerated that the police arrested the victims without a warrant of arrest, tagged them as members of the New Peoples’ Army, searched their belongings without a search warrant and detained the victims for 24 hours without charges. He also added that the police did not read to them their rights as accused persons.

According to police reports, joint police and military personnel conducted the operations to serve the warrant of arrest of Simon Naugsan alias Filiw, alleged leader of the Mt. Province NPA Kilusang Larangang Guerilla MARCO Command. The police did not find Naogsan but instead arrested the three whom police reports later tagged as top rebel leaders.

They alleged that the three are NPAs using several fictitious names. Inong is accused of using the name Lolita Longuibis that appears in the warrant of arrest against Naogsan issued by Judge Artemio Marrero of Branch 35, Bontoc Regional Trial Court. She is now detained at the Bontoc District Jail. Busania is accused of using Ramil, Eden, Arnel C. Dancel and John Martinez. Police also accused Busania to be the communication officer of the Komiteng Region – Hilagang Silangan Luzon (KR-HSL) with a standing warrant issued by the RTC of the 2nd Judicial Region in Madella, Quirino for murder. He is currently at the Mountian Province provincial police office waiting for his transfer to Quirino. Cruz is accused of being an NPA based in Abra using the alias Ka Liza with other names that include: Gayle Cruz Santos, Sandra Castillo Reyes and Danica Castro as seen in her alleged employee ID. Police have however reported she was released.

Baggo learned that the victims were brought to Mountain Province Provincial Police Office in Bontoc around 10:00 p.m. of September 9. Police escorts told the victims that they were to be presented to the fiscal for their cases. At the PNP provincial office, they were being coerced to sign several papers but the victims did not sign any.

He said the three were detained at the Violence Against Women (VAW) office of the provincial police and were kept awake all night.

The victims were brought to the fiscal’s office at around 2:30 p.m. of Sept. 11. Busania and Cruz were immediately cleared of any cases. Inong, on the other hand, was told that there was a warrant of arrest issued against her, referring to that issued against a certain Lolita Loguibis who figured in the warrant issued against Naogsan.

Baggo said the police illegally detained Busania even after the fiscal cleared him of charges. He was told that they are still waiting for his release papers. Later in the afternoon, however, the Bontoc police received an arrest warrant for murder against him from Maddela, Quirino.

“We call for the immediate release of Ofelia Inong and Rey Busania. Their continuing detention is unjust and illegal,” Baggo said.

Police reports showed the three were also charged for allegedly using fictitious names and concealing their true names.

Baggo called for the scrapping of the policy of giving reward money for arrest of alleged rebel leaders. He said that this policy poses grave threats to the security of the people.

Capt. Gina Daet, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Northern Luzon Command, told media that the arrest of Loguibis whom they claim to be Inong has a P2.05-million ($47,093) reward.

Baggo said that Inong’s arrest is similar to the case of security guard Rolly Panesa who was arrested, tortured, detained for nearly 10 months and accused to be a top-ranking NPA leader with a reward of P5.7 million ($130,941). Panesa was recently released after the Court of Appeals found the cases against him unfounded.

Baggo said the motive behind the arrest and detention is to collect the reward money. “We are wary that the motive of the arrest and detention is the collection of the reward money being dangled by the State as part of their counterinsurgency policy,” he said.

“If this is where our taxes go, we call on Congress to grant a zero budget for Oplan Bayanihan under which these illegal cases are being perpetrated,” Baggo said.

“We also demand for accountability. The units involved in the illegal arrest and detention should be sanctioned for each violation they have committed against the Aileen Cruz, Rey Busania, and Ofelia Inong,” he said. Northern Dispatch Reposted by Bulatlat.com)

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2 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Go! Go! Go! Attorney Allad-iw

  2. I admire your guts Jude Baggo in concocting lies and your effort in trying to save those three idiots but we in Sagada abhor there presence here. For your information, we are glad that they were arrested and thrown out from our municipality because we do not want terrorists entering our peaceful town. Just do your job; go and refute their warrants of arrests and tell the judge that he was wrong and you are right.

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