Monday, September 24, 2018

IFI enraged over arrest of GenSan 13

CAGAYAN DE ORO. Some of the "GenSan 13," together with church workers from the Iglesia Filipina Indepentiente, raise their fists in protest of their arrest in General Santos City last July 4. (Pamela Jay Orias)

A CHURCH leader has called the arrest of the "GenSan 13" as part of the Duterte administration's repression of the church.

Bishop Antonio Ablon of the Iglesia Filipina Indepentiente (IFI) said the church is enraged over the "illegal" arrest and trump-up charges against the 13 church workers and human rights advocates in General Santos City last July 4, calling it an attack and harassment to the church.

The "GenSan 13" were charged with obstruction of justice when the police officers supposedly served arrest warrants against certain Francis Madria and Maria Unabia whom were unfamiliar to the participants of the assessment meeting of a recently concluded project the IFI-Visayas Mindanao Regional Office for Development (IFI-VIMROD).

The 11 of the "GenSan 13" were released from detention after posting a total of nearly half a million pesos, while two remained behind bars while contesting the charges filed against them.

Freed were Tereista Naul, Virgilio Sanama, Vennel Chenfoo, Annaliza Avenido, Byron Porras, Roger Plana, Kristine Cabardo, Datu Jomorito Guaynon, Ireneo Udarbe, Rosemarie Cantano and Aldeem Yanez.

They faced the media on July 11 and shared their excruciating experiences.

On the other hand, the freed community and church workers are set to file counter charges against the arresting policemen led by Superintendent Geovannie Ladeo.

Lawyer Beverly Ann Musni of the Union of Peoples' Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) said they are ironing out the charges to be filed against the agents of the state.

"Mag-file gyud mi og kaso kay gusto namo madisplina sad ning mga police nga walay respeto bisan sa among mga abogado. Nag-meeting nami alang sa mga sunod nga lakang (We will file a case because we want them disciplined. They had no respect even for our lawyers. We are meeting to study what cases to file)," Musni said.

"Ang kaso batok sa GenSan 13 wala nasulod sa parameter sa obstruction of justice kay igo lang man nangutana sila about sa warrant unya gidala dayon sila sa mga police (The case against the GenSan 13 does not constitute obstruction of justice. They just asked to see the warrant but were hauled off by the police)," she added.

The group is calling for justice and accountability for the harassment and illegal arrest by the state agents and demanded to drop the unfounded charges and release of the remaining two detainees Emilio Gabales and Delia Catubay.