CPP denounces torture of 2 activists presented as rebels

Patricia Cierva and Cedrick Casaño


MANILA – Youth activists who were recently presented as “surrenderees” in Cagayan province were subjected to torture.

This is the reaction of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) after Michael Cedrick Casaño and Patricia Nicole Cierva were presented by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as among the 21 so-called rebel returnees in a ceremony on June 2, Friday.

Casaño and Cierva were reportedly captured by the military on May 18.

In a statement, Marco Valbuena, CPP chief information officer, said that like many other so-called ‘surrenderees’ who were presented publicly by the AFP, the two youth activists “were subjected by the military to relentless psychological torture to break their spirit and will to fight for the people.”

The AFP, he said, also violated Casaño and Cierva’s civil and political rights when they were kept incommunicado for more than 15 days after they were held in custody.

“That they eventually ‘surrendered’ and gave up their principles after being broken by their tormentors after 15 days does not change the fact that the 501st Infantry Brigade subjected them to torture while they were under secret detention in violation of all laws of civilized societies,” Valbuena said.

“They were not charged before the courts where they could have a chance to defend themselves in open trial, and instead were tried and adjudged by their military captors in secret dungeons,” he added.

In a report, the military claimed that Casaño and Cierva surrendered.

Read: ‘Respect rights of 2 surfaced youth activists,’ group urges gov’t

Valbuena said the same tactic was employed on others who have been captured and held in what he called as secret detention, detained and suffered torture.

He cited the case of Arthur Lucenario who was held captive by the 47th Infantry Battalion on April 14 in San Miguel, Bohol. On May 12, the military said Lucenario was killed in an “armed encounter.”

“In all probability, Lucenario’s spirit was not broken and remained defiant in the face of his torturers. The AFP falsely declared that Lucenario was killed in an ‘armed encounter’ with the NPA. Based on local reports, his body bore signs of severe torture,” Valbuena said.

He also cited the killing of National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant Rogelio Posadas, 56, who was also abducted on April 19 while traveling in Negros Occidental.

“The AFP did not accord them the rights to lawyers or face charges before courts. Posadas was summarily killed by the 23rd IB, who later issued false news that he was killed in an armed encounter in a hinterland barangay in Binalbagan town. His companion, Lyngrace Marturillas, and two drivers, Renel delos Santos and Renal Mialen, remain missing to this day,” Valbuena said.

Valbuena added that these are only some of the most recent cases in what he called as “increasingly dirty war of the AFP under the administration of Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“Where civilians, activists and revolutionaries alike are being arrested unlawfully, or abducted and detained secretly, where they are made to choose: ‘surrender or die,’” Valbuena said.

“Under de facto martial law, these crimes are being carried out by the AFP with utter impunity. These cases must be fully exposed and condemned in order to end all these cruelties,” Valbuena added. (RTS, RVO) (https://www.bulatlat.org)

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