By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – A Lumad council leader was arrested by state forces last March 18, Friday.
In a statement, the Save Our Schools Network said that Lumad leader Edwin Oribawan Sr. was arrested by combined forces of the Philippine National Police and the 72nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army at 4:00 a.m. in sitio Aguila, Kabalantian, Arakan, North Cotabato.
The group said authorities forcibly entered the residence of Oribawan, threatening his daughter and two other children.
“They held them at gunpoint while asking about their father’s whereabouts. At 5:00 a.m., elements of the 72nd IBPA illegally arrested and handcuffed Oribawan. The elements of the PNP and 72nd IBPA planted bullets in order to prove their allegations,” the SOS Network said.
Oribawan was then brought to the Arakan Police Station and was reportedly charged with attempted murder, rebellion, and use of illegal drugs.
SOS said Oribawan was also instrumental in the establishment of the Mindanao Interfaith School Foundation, Inc. (MISFI) in Arakan, North Cotabato and was part of its Parents Teachers and Community Association (PTCA).
This was also not the first time that Oribawan was falsely accused by the authorities. In 2017, the SOS Network said he was falsely implicated in an ambush in sitio Gambodes.
The group condemned the illegal arrest of Oribawan.