Group condemns abduction of political prisoner’s wife in Bacolod

Photo from the Facebook page of September 21 Movement South Negros


MANILA – Peasant women’s group Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women decried the abduction of Joyna Lacio Sabanal, wife of political prisoner Roger Sabanal.

The group said Sabanal was abducted in broad daylight in Fortune Town, Bacolod City on Jan. 6, Friday.

A report from September 21 Movement South Negros said that Sabanal was able to send text messages asking for help before they lost contact with her.

“Her texts narrate her abduction carried out by three unidentified persons including one woman. She also said that her abductors placed a handkerchief doused with an unknown substance on her face,” Amihan said in a statement.

Before the incident, Sabanal received several death threats through messages and calls from suspected state agents. Amihan said there is still no update to her whereabouts.

Sabanal’s husband Roger was among the farmers who were arrested during the height of the implementation of Memorandum Order No. 32 (also known as Oplan Sauron) in Negros Island, Bicol, and Samar. The farmers are still detained up to now.

Read: Another activist killed, 10 others arrested in Negros

Amihan Chairperson Zenaida Soriano called for the immediate and safe surfacing of Sabanal
“Red-tagging and programs such as Duterte’s Oplan Sauron have cultivated a growing culture of violence across the country. This violence is not only suffered by peasants, activists, and political prisoners, but also their families and loved ones. We reiterate the call to stop the attacks, especially against marginalized sectors who are most vulnerable to the worst of it,” Soriano said.

Read: How red-tagging justifies human rights abuses
Read: UN special rapporteurs stress chilling effect of red tagging

The group urged the Commission on Human Rights and the House Committee on Human Rights to conduct an immediate investigation on Sabanal’s abduction and hold perpetrators accountable.

“We urge all freedom-loving Filipinos, women advocates, civil society groups, and netizens to support the call to surface Joyna Labacio Sabanal,” Soriano added. (RTS, RVO) (

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