The PNP should be accountable for their illegal arrest and detention. We demand their immediate release.” – Hustisya
By DEE AYROSO
Youth and human rights groups today called for the release of two youth leaders arrested in Nueva Ecija, and condemned what they called “a rotten tactic” of state security forces.
Gerald Salonga, 24, and Guiller Martin Cadano, 22, both alumni of the University of the Philippines extension program in Pampanga were arrested in Carranglan town on August 9. Salonga is a member of Anakbayan-Central Luzon, while Cadano is the Kabataan partylist regional chair. The two are detained at the headquarters of the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) in Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija.
“The PNP should be accountable for their illegal arrest and detention. We demand their immediate release,” said Cristina Guevarra, Hustisya secretary general in a statement. “This is a rotten tactic of the PNP and AFP,” said Guevarra.
Anakbayan chair Vencer Crisostomo, in a statement, called on all Anakbayan members and Filipino youth to condemn the arrest of the two youths and to join protest actions for their release. “Progressive youth leaders continue to be subjected to state repression,” he said.
“The arrest of Salonga and Cadano is proof of the human rights violations that are continuing under the US-Aquino regime,” Crisostomo said.
Crisostomo said Salonga and Cadano were abducted at a house in TL Padilla village in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija. Witnesses said soldiers took the two and forced them into two vehicles: Cadano into a red van, while Salonga was forced into a white pick-up truck. In the early morning of August 10, the two were turned over to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Nueva Ecija.
Police claimed that they confiscated guns and ammunition from the two, who will be charged with illegal possession of firearms.
Crisostomo said soldiers illegally searched several houses in TL Padilla and continue to harass residents even after the two youths were arrested.
Hustisya’s Guevarra said the Aquino government’s Oplan Bayanihan carried on the past administrations illegal arrests and filing of trumped-up charges against activists, while the notorious retired army general Jovito Palparan remains scot free. Palparan was indicted in the continued disappearance of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.
“The Aquino government has never rendered justice for the victims of human rights violators in the past. Pres. Aquino is equally accountable now for human rights violations committed under his watch. You should arrest Palparan and not these youth activists,” said Guevarra.
Hustisya said that under President Aquino, more than 200 have been illegally arrested, charged with fabricated cases and detained. At present there are 499 political prisoners, the statement said.