By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Women’s group Gabriela denounced the recent raid of one of its shelter houses for abused women that led to the arrest of Lenilyn Jaynos, a community development worker, in Roxas City on Sept. 2.
Jaynos is a community organizer of the urban poor group Kaisog, a member organization of Kadamay in Panay. She was in the shelter house for post-operation medical check-ups.
The 45-year-old activist, along with Gabriela-Roxas City’s secretary general Marivie Bartolome Arguelles and another individual, was named in a search warrant used by the members of the police to raid their shelter house for women located at Happy Homes Subdivision, Barangay Sibaguan, Roxas City.
Only Jaynos was in the shelter at the time of the search.
The police purportedly found in her possession several arms and explosives, which Maura Abellon, chairperson of Kadamay-Panay also said it would be impossible for Jaynos to carry.
They also took with them as “evidence” a flag of Gabriela.
However, Clarice Palce, Gabriela’s secretary general, said these were all planted.
Gabriela-Panay chairperson Lucia Francisco said the raid of the shelter is reminiscent of previous searches and raids, where purported evidence are planted before authorities would come in to conduct the “search.”
In this case, she said that Jaynos saw a man carrying two back packs entered the shelter. The said man walked out of the shelter without the bags.
“More than 30 members of the operatives surrounded the shelter. They conducted the search, called the village officials and then after the search they claimed that they found two bags containing arms and explosives in the window at the back of the curtain,” Francisco said during the online briefing.
Not a terrorist
Women rights advocates said that contrary to the claims of the police, Jaynos is not a terrorist.
“She has been serving the poor for most of her entire life. She was a teacher for an urban poor daycare center in Iloilo City for years before later serving peasant communities in Capiz,” Panay Alliance Karapatan said in a statement.
When typhoon Yolanda hit the country, Jaynos is among the volunteers of Buylog Capiz that helped many farmers and fisherfolk recovered from the trauma and devastation of one of the strongest typhoons to ever make landfall in recent history.
She also worked with Gabriela, particularly in cases of victims of state negligence and abuse.
Gabriela, for its part, said the shelter where Jaynos was arrested is among the crisis centers they have established in many parts of the country to provide a safe space for women who are survivors of abuse.
“Centers like these are refuge for women incapable of protecting themselves against powerful perpetrators and who have nowhere to turn to, as government has meager and ineffective responses to the widespread problem of violence against women,” Gabriela said.
Progressives said the recent event is among the apparent heightened number of cases of harassment against women activists.
Last month, ailing women’s rights activist Atheliana Hijos was arrested in Butuan City. She has difficulties walking.
“It is abhorrent that in spite of billions of money being poured into government so-called intelligence funds, we find such failures of intelligence victimizing poor people such as Jaynos who has been deeply traumatized by the event,” the group said in a statement.
“Jaynos arrest and the accusations against them is an indication that under the Marcos-Duterte regime, human rights violations will remain rampant and that state forces have again mobilized their ranks to commit human rights violations,” Panay Alliance Karapatan said. (JJE)