By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA — Human rights group Karapatan said four activists, including one peace consultant, were arrested on trumped-up charges, and another one went missing in the past two weeks alone.
On April 1, farmer Nemfa Delima was arrested in barangay Budlasan, Canlaon City, Negros Oriental. Karapatan said the raiding team planted caliber .38, ammunition and a rifle grenade in her residence.
Five days later, on April 5, Kadamay-Negros education officer Iver Larit is reported missing after he left his residence in Bacolod City. According to Karapatan, Larit left his house around 9:00 a.m. that day but he reportedly did not arrive at an appointment with an urban poor community which he was helping to organize against threats of demolition. By 10:00 a.m. Larit’s son could no longer reach him through his mobile number.
Larit is a former political prisoner and has been a target of harassment and other attacks throughout the years, Karapatan said. In 2011, he was detained for eight months over a trumped-up robbery-in-band charge. He was eventually released after the court dismissed the charges against him due to lack of substantial evidence.
Karapatan said Larit’s name was also included in a ‘kill, kill, kill’ list of activists in Negros which was sent to the Karapatan national office’s public information desk through a text message just mere hours after the Bloody Sunday raids throughout the Southern Tagalog region last year.
On April 8, Anakpawis fourth nominee Isabelo Adviento was arrested in Nueva Vizcaya.
Read: Anakpawis nominee arrested in Nueva Vizcaya
Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said Adviento’s arrest was “evidently part of the efforts of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s efforts to malign and harass progressive partylists from the Makabayan coalition and the political opposition.” As proof to her statement, she cited the case of the illegal arrest of Makabayan’s Cagayan Valley coordinator Agnes Mesina last February 28, 2022, the various reports of harassment against members of Anakpawis Partylist, and President Rodrigo Duterte’s red-tagging against Makabayan and Vice President Leni Robredo’s campaign.
“The NTF-ELCAC’s attacks, which brazenly target the political opposition, threaten not only the people’s right to freely and safely participate in the conduct of public affairs: most importantly, these attacks undermine the integrity of our electoral processes. That State resources and machinery are being shamelessly weaponized by the NTF-ELCAC to facilitate human rights violations and attacks on the opposition should be a cause of indignation,” Palabay said.
On April 11, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants Ernesto Lorenzo and Rosita Serrano and three others were arrested by the police while waiting to be vaccinated in Parañaque City, Karapatan – Southern Tagalog reported.
According to Karapatan-Southern Tagalog, Lorenzo, Serrano and Plinky Longhas were located at Camp Vicente Lim.