Urban poor leader released on bail

Connie Opalla testified in the 2018 tribunal that indicted President Duterte and then US President Donald Trump guilty of violating the political and economic rights of the Filipino people. (Photo courtesy of IPT 2018)


MANILA – Bulacan-based urban poor leader was released on bail today, May 7, over what her colleagues described as baseless and fabricated charges.

Connie Opalla, an urban poor leader who participated in the Occupy Movement back in 2017, was initially declared missing after the police denied having arrested and detained her in March 2021. This until her family and paralegal officers of Kadamay learned of her whereabouts.

She is facing child abuse and human trafficking charges over her purported recruitment of minors to become members of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. These charges, Kadamay said, are “utterly ridiculous, baseless and yet warranted almost a quarter of a year in jail where she was repeatedly denied food and other basic needs.”

Read: Surface urban poor leader, police urged

Today, May 7, she posted a reduced bail amounting to P140,000 ($2,920) before the local family court in Bulacan.

“This is how people in authority work under the Duterte administration,” said Mimi Doringo, Kadamay secretary general.

“The smallest hearsay from a supposed police asset can bring you behind bars. They did this too to those they branded as drug addicts, and they ended up either dead or jailed. Now, they are after activists and those they brand as NPA members,” she added.

Kadamay called for the dropping of charges against her, saying that the criminal charges boil down to red-tagging and political persecution.

Read: Urban poor group raises funds for bail of arrested community organizer

Meanwhile, the group thanked those who donated for Opalla’s bail.

Opalla was a former overseas Filipino worker. She lived in an urban poor community in Malabon for most of her life and was among those who joined the Occupy Movement in Pandi, Bulacan.

In 2018, she testified before the International People’s Tribunal in Belgium, where President Duterte and then US President Donald Trump were indicted over human rights violations in the Philippines. (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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