UPLM to file counter charges vs military, police

THE Union of People's Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) is considering filing counter charges against members of the military and the police responsible in what they call as illegal arrest of six activists tagged as leaders of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Cagayan de Oro City and Misamis Oriental.

Lawyer Czarina Musni of the UPLM yesterday said they will likely tap the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to help in looking into the possible cases to be filed against the apprehending teams.

"We will explore the possibilities nga makig-alyado sa IBP kay rampant na kaayo ang human rights violations ug maayo gyud makasuhan ang mga apprehending officers nga pataka lang og conduct sa searches ug pagpangdakop," Musni said.

"Padayon ang among invitation sa mga lawyers to join us kay kinahanglan mangisog ang legal field nga magtutok ani," she added.

Lumad and peasant group leaders Datu Jomorito Goaynon and Ireneo Udarbe were arrested on Monday while four members of the Misamis Oriental Farmers Association (MOFA) identified as Gerry and Gerald Basahon and Marivic and Mylene Coleta were nabbed two days after.

Authorities said the arrest was through court orders. But, Musni said the supposed arrest and search warrants were questionable.

The combined forces of the military and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) claimed to have seized and recovered firearms and explosives during the two separate operations.

She said the arrest warrant was only for Udarbe and that he already posted bail.

The UPLM will also question the legality and the manner of the search during the raid at the MOFA office last Wednesday.

"Kung moabot ni sa korte atong i-question ang legality sa search and arrest kay once an illegal search is made then naay nakuha nga mga contraband all of them will be inadmissible in court under the doctrine of the fruit of the poisonous tree," Musni said.

"Nakakuha kita og kopya sa search warrant nga kunohay ilang gi-present nakita nato nga tampered ang search warrant and ang manner sa search is questionable kay una niabot ang military then ang CIDG unya walay hingtungdan gipauban sa search so that is a violation," she added.

The UPLM believed that the evidences obtained by the raiding teams were "planted."

Musni also said the arrest of the six activists was a continuing harassment against human rights workers and those vocal dissenters of the Duterte administration.

"Kay dunay pattern nga tandem ang military and police unya ang mahitabo una ang military moabot then ayha ang CIDG nga nagdala na kunohay sa mga warrant so nakita namo nga dunay dili mao sa pag-conduct sa operation," Musni said.

The six arrested activists will likely face similar charges for illegal possession of guns and explosives, Comelec gun ban, and violation of human security act while only Goaynon and Udarbe will be charged with rebellion.

Musni said the four MOFA members also waived their rights and requested for a preliminary investigation so they can file their counter-affidavit like in the case of Goaynon and Udarbe.

"May untag dili nani masang-at sa korte. Ma detain sila longer pero ang nakaayo kay dunay panahon nga matuki ang mga document sa mga kaso nga gi-file batok sa ila," Musni said.


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