Bayan Muna, Gabriela, NFSW offices in Bacolod being raided

Updated 9:46 p.m., October 31, 2019

CIDG vehicle parked outside the office of Gabriela in Bacolod City (Photo courtesy of Paghimutad)

MANILA — The offices of Bayan Muna, Gabriela and National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) are being raided simultaneously by elements of the Criminal Detection and Investigation Group (CIDG) and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) since early this afternoon, according to alternative media outfit Paghimutad.

In an online interview, Anne Kreuger of Paghimutad told Bulatlat that about 11 CIDG and SWAT personnel carrying long firearms went to the office of Gabriela and presented a search warrant issued by Quezon City’s Regional Trial Court Branch 89. A copy of the said warrant was sent to Bulatlat.

“The warrant is defective,” Kreuger said, noting that the address stated in the warrant is not the same with the address of Gabriela.

Kreuger has been arrested by authorities as of 9:45 p.m. She is being taken to the Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office.

The warrant, signed by Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert on Oct. 30, states that there is probable cause to believe that firearms and explosive were stored at the Yellow House, Ilang Ilang Street, Barangay Bata, Bacolod City, therefore violating Republic Act No. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

Named in the warrant were Kreuger, Mike dela Concepcion, secretary general of Bayan-Bacolod, four other individuals and several Jane and John Does.

Kreuger went on Facebook to document the search. CIDG personnel found a blue backpack inside the compound, which Kreuger and her companions said does not belong to them. Inside the bag were clothes and a handgun.

Kreuger said they saw a man in civilian clothes who went inside the compound while she and her companions were instructed to go outside.

Human rights alliance Karapatan condemned the raid.  “The use of search warrants have become a trend increasingly used in Negros, which makes offices and individuals vulnerable to the planting of evidence,” the group said.

The group said that in March 2019, the search warrant used for the simultaneous operations targeting peasant activists in three different towns in Negros was also issued from a different region, particularly in Cebu.

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, maintained that all three organizations are operating legally, and to allege that they are “legal fronts” of the Communist Party of the Philippines is baseless. “Lest we remind this government, freedom of association and the right to petition the government for redress are enshrined in the Constitution,” she said.

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