Parents are not NPAs, rights lawyer tells welfare office

A HUMAN rights lawyer on Friday, February 1, expressed dismay over the blunt accusation of the municipal social welfare office against the four peasant group workers arrested in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, tagging them as members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Lawyer Czarina Musni of the Union of People's Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) said it is unfair and unethical for the social welfare office to issue baseless accusations against the four detained activists.

Gerry and Gerald Basahon and Marivic and Mylene Coleta, members of the Misamis Oriental Farmers Association (MOFA), were arrested for illegal possession of firearms and explosives by virtue of a search warrant in their office in Villanueva town, last Wednesday.

The social welfare office is taking custody of the three minors--a one-year old and two years old kids including a 16-year old girl, who were with the four activists arrested during the raid carried out by the combined forces of the military and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

Musni said the accusation was read in the letter of referral of the minors from the DSWD municipal office to the DSWD regional office.

"Ang letter sa DSWD nga nag refer sa mga bata sa DSWD regional office nag ingon nga ang mga ginikanan sa mga bata members sa NPA so unfair kaayo ug dili ethical for the DSWD to issue baseless accusation against them," Musni said.

"Subo kaayo kay even DSWD paspas kaayo naka judge sa mga detained without taking into consideration sa mahimong effects niini sa mga bata," Musni said.

Musni escorted the relatives of the minors to convince the DSWD regional office that they be released.

"Toa pa sila sa DSWD ang mga bata ug wala pa nakuha kay dunay mga documents and requirements for their release to the nearest kin,"Musni said.

Musni and the four farmer activists requested the prosecutors office for a preliminary investigation.

She said the four accused of illegal possession of firearms and explosives and violation of human security act.

Musni also said there was an inconsistency of the charges since the CIDG filed rebellion against lumad leader Datu Jomorito Goaynon and peasant leader Ireneo Udarbe while there was no rebellion case lodged against the four MOFA members, where in fact, authorities identified all of them as NPA leaders.

"Dunay inconsistency sa ilang mga charges tungod kay ilang gipasibya nga mga NPA ang mga detained pero si Datu Jomo and tatay Ireneo lang ang gipasakaan sa rebellion," Musni said.

"Kani taktika nga pasakaan sila ug mga non-bailable cases," she added.

Musni said the four MOFA members will be transferred to the provincial jail.


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