Civilians in military garb arrested by police

AUTHORITIES over the weekend arrested six men for wearing military uniforms at a checkpoint along the highway in Tablon, Cagayan de Oro City.

The arrested men were said to be members of the United States Allied Freedom Fighters of the East (Usaffe) led by lawyer Ely Pamatong.

Arrested suspects were identified as Rey Butal, 25, of Claveria, Misamis Oriental, Felipe Manila, 68, of Jasaan town, Erlidan Piedad, 66, of Jasaan, Edgar Gumahad, 37, of Tablon, this city, Mario Hingcayog, 47, of Tagoloan town, and Florencio Mier, 60, of Claveria.

Authorities on Monday, August 7, charged them with violations of RA 493 and Article 170 of the Revised Penal Code in relation to the illegal use of military uniforms and insignia.

Chief Inspector Evan Viñas, Police Station 10 chief, said the arrested men were about to enter the city when the Task Force Oro sighted the suspects.

"Nakita nga nagamit sila sa uniform sa Ranger kanang itom nga uniform mao ilang gibasihan sa pagdakop (They were seen wearing the colored-black uniform of Rangers that is why they were arrested)," Viñas said.

Viñas said Pamatong had sent the police with documents to prove that their group is not an enemy of the state.

Viñas said Usaffe is a non-government organization which claims to be a peacekeeping group.

"Naay documents gipadala ni Pamatong nga ilang giingon force multipliers sila ug dili sila kontra sa gobyerno (Pamatong showed some documents that they are force multipliers are not enemies of the state),"Viñas added.

Viñas said the documents will be brought to the City Prosecutor's Office which will weigh if the case has grounds to be elevated in court.

Viñas also said the group also calls for an immediate release of their members.

He said there have been information that the group will charge the apprehending officers for illegal arrest and detention.

"Wala nato gi-ignore nga nasuko sila ug mohimo ba kaha og gubot busa andam lang ta ug alerto (We're not ignoring that they they're angry and might cause some trouble that's why we're always alert and ready)," Viñas said.


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