THE two women rights defenders from Cagayan de Oro City "forcibly" brought by a government soldier to a military camp in Bukidnon for questioning are now branded by the military as "surenderers".
In a statement, the military said Gloria Jandayan and her daughter Gleceria Balangiao voluntarily surrendered last February 11, the same day that the two were brought by an army's intelligence officer without court order for questioning over their alleged links with the New People's Army (NPA).
Karapatan human rights group condemned the incident more so when the military failed to return the two to the barangay within 24 hours as agreed upon with the village officials.
Jandayan, who was a barangay health worker and member of Gabriela women's group, and Balangiao, a lay worker of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao (RMP-NMR), were branded by the military as ranking officials of the NPA.
The military claimed that Jandayan was a staff of the Regional Urban Committee of the NPA's North Central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC while her daughter was tagged as finance officer and political instructor of Platoon Derek, SYP Coy-2, Guerilla Front 68A, Sub-Regional Command 4 of the NCMRC.
Jandayan and Balangiao were among the four female ranking officials whom the military said have surrendered to the army's special forces Battalion in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.
The other two were identified as Lorena Micabalo, 24, and Jackielyn Ann Elaco, 34.
The military said the four women were responsible for radicalizing the communities to recruit the residents of western Bukidnon and in urban areas in Cagayan de Oro City.
"They admitted that the difficulties of working underground; false promises of their leaders; as well as frustrations due to the contradictions between what is being preached and what are actually happening inside the CPP-NPA made them decide to quit and join the folds of the law,"the military said.
The military added that the supposed confessions of the four were administered by public lawyers.
403rd Brigade Commander Colonel Edgardo De Leon said "the four ladies who surrendered are all victims of the CPP-NPA terrorists' exploitation that is why they deserve to receive assistance from the government."
"Their being among the marginalized sector of our society was exploited by CPP-NPA cadres who posed as 'poverty liberators' promising better living conditions, but in reality brought them into the armed terrorist movement,"De Leon added.
"This is the kind of 'peaceful war' that I have been advocating to our soldiers and peace partners. The four are now saved from the risk or danger of possible injury or death. They were actually rescued by the soldiers and the civilians who acted as conduits,"4th Infantry Division (4ID) commander Brigadier General Franco Nemesio Gacal said.
But, Karatapan-Northern Mindanao raised the possibilities that the two may have been threatened and forced to admit.
Karapatan-Northern Mindanao spokesperson Father Allan Khen Apus said the group has been apprehensive and worried with how the armed forces interrogated Jandayan and Balangiao.
"Sa kataas sa panahon nga sila gi-detain, napulo ka adlaw, nagtuo kita nga lain-laing method ang gigamit sa military para mapugos sila nga moangkon na lang aron siguro mogaan ilang kahimtang ug aron nga hadlokon ang pamilya nga dili mosumbong sa government ug independent human rights bodies,"Apus said.
"Daan nata nabalaka nga mao gyud ni ang mahitabo kay kung balikan nato gidala mana sila sa kay dunay interrogation kuno ug naay kasabutan nga ibalik sila within 24 hours kato wala nila tumana,"he added.
Apus has reiterated the call of the group to release the women rights advocates.