“Cellphones were not where they were left, tables were moved, windows are open, doors show clear signs of forced entry.”
By AIRA MARIE SIGUENZA
MANILA – Youth progressive group Anakbayan said that unidentified individuals entered their national office at around 9 p.m. yesterday, January 15.
“Cellphones were not where they were left, tables were moved, windows are open, doors show clear signs of forced entry,” said Anakbayan in their post via their social media accounts.
Later that day, at around midnight, the youth group also stated that some of their members noticed police mobile roaming around the area.
“We fear for our safety. This attempt to enter our office is not detached from what happened to Dyan and Armand in Cebu,” said Jeann Miranda, chairperson of Anakbayan, referring to two Cebu-based activists, Dyan Gumanao, 28, coordinator of Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Region 7, and Armand Dayoha, 27, Alliance of Health Workers-Cebu coordinator, who were reported missing after spending the holidays with their families.
Before their absence, the two reported a series of harassment and tailing. As of this writing, the two have not been found.
Attacks against the youth
Anakbayan has been subjected to relentless attacks under several administrations.
One of the most notable cases is Anakbayan member and student activist Alicia Lucena, whose mother, Relissa, a member of Hands Off Our Children Network, filed a kidnapping and human trafficking case against the youth group along with former Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago and former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares.
However, Lucena goes against Relissa’s statement through a video narrating how her mother illegally detained her at home, prevented her from watching television, and contacted friends and fellow activists.
Aside from this, Jovita Antoniano and the Philippine National Police (PNP) filed kidnapping and child abuse charges against Anakbayan leaders. However, last May 28, the Department of Justice (DOJ) released a 15-page resolution junking the charges due to the ‘lack of probable cause.’
The most recent case was last December 29, where Anakbayan, along with progressive groups such as Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)’’s Facebook pages, were removed.
The accounts’ administrators and editors have also been locked due to ‘unknown entities trying to access the accounts.’
Prior to this incident, the group’s posts giving tribute to Jose Maria Sison had been flagged for violating the “Community Standards.”
“We are condemning this action made by Facebook because it’s just an attempt to silence the free speech of the youth. Sharing Prof. Jose Maria Sison’s contribution to the freedom and equality of the Filipino should not be considered a threat or terrorism,” said Anakbayan.
Anakbayan called for the youth and other human rights organizations to stand up and condemn the series of harassment against the youth.
“There is no one to blame but the state who wants to silence those fighting for their freedom and rights. We call for the youth, human rights watch, and even the Commission on Human Rights to help us look into what happened. This incident also fuels us to fight the oppressive and corrupt Marcos Jr,” said Miranda. (JJE, RVO)