By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL?
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — A farmer from Roxas, Isabela was abducted by armed men who introduced themselves as agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) along the highway at the boundary of San Manuel and Roxas, Isabela around noon of February 28.
Virgilio Abrogena, chairman of Danggayan Dagiti Manalon ti Cagayan Valley (Dangayan), a peasant group in the region, said Romulo dela Cruz, Sr. was on board a motorcycle with his son, Romulo, Jr. on their way home when a white van stopped them along the highway. A man with a handkerchief covering half of his face came out of the van, introduced himself as an agent of the NBI and grabbed the victim by the neck and dragged him into the van. The van sped away leaving Romulo, Jr. stunned and clueless.
The father and son just came from the Roxas town hall where the younger Romulo just got married. “They were on their way home for his son’s wedding reception when he was abducted,” Abrogena said.
Romulo Jr immediately contacted members of Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon ti Isabela (Dagami), his father’s organization, to inform them of what happened. Abrogena then accompanied Romulo Jr. to the Roxas municipal police office to report what happened.
According to Abrogena, police officers at Roxas put their report on blotter and instructed them to report the incident at the San Manuel Police office as well.
“We do not know of any reason for his abduction except for his active participation in the fight of Matusalem farmers for their residential lots being claimed by the Isabela State University (ISU),” Abrogena said.
Abrogena said Romulo, Sr. was among the peasant leaders in the defense of their homes that is said to be in a lot being claimed by the ISU in Matusalem village in Roxas town.
In can be recalled that in 2011, residents of the contested lot decried the inhumane acts of ISU security guards and Matusalem village officials for burning some 70 houses. The residents filed criminal charges against the perpetrators but the case is pending until now. (Northern Dispatch / Posted by Bulatlat.com )