“While everybody is busy trying to find ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 here is the military continuing their red tagging and filing of trumped-up charges against the opposition and critics of the Duterte administration.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – A human rights defender was arrested in Lala, Lanao del Norte on March 15.
Teresita Naul, Karapatan National Council member and Bayan Muna member was arrested by members of the 4th Infantry Division. She was charged with kidnapping, illegal detention and arson.
Authorities claimed Naul is the secretary of regional White Area Committee, North Mindanao of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Bayan Muna Party-list Representatives Carlos Isagani Zarate and Eufemia Cullamat condemned the arrest, saying Naul has been working with Karapatan for many years.
Zarate said Naul was one of the activists and human rights workers who were red-tagged in a leaflet distributed in Cagayan de Oro.
“While everybody is busy trying to find ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 here is the military continuing their red tagging and filing of trumped-up charges against the opposition and critics of the Duterte administration,” Zarate said.
Cullamat said that the arrest of Naul is meant to silence her from exposing the true situation in Mindanao and warn those who assert and fight for their rights.
Meanwhile, Iglesia Filipina Indipendiente (IFI) priest Chris Ablon belied claims that Naul is a member of the New People’s Army.
“Nanay Tessie is 60 years old. She is ill and frail,” said Ablon in his social media post. He added that he has worked with Naul from 2001 to 2018.
Cullamat slammed National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). She said that the NTF has consistently accused farmers, indigenous peoples, workers, activists and critics of President Duterte.
She called for the immediate release of Naul and stop the filng of fabricated charges against human rights defenders.