BACOLOD

Progressive groups' fact-finding team arrives in Bacolod

A FACT-FINDING team composed of representatives of various progressive groups arrived in Bacolod City to investigate the raids of authorities that resulted in the arrest of 57 of their officials and members.

The fact-finding team, led by Karapatan, Bayan, Defend Negros Network, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), visited the offices of the progressive groups in Barangays Bata, Taculing and 33.

During the initial inspection, they noted that some of the offices were left in disarray, with laptops, hard drives, bags, computers, and other documents were taken by authorities.

They also interviewed the relatives of the arrested activists.

The groups also continue to insist that the firearms and explosives recovered by the army and police are all planted.

In response the progressive group's fact-finding investigation, Philippine Army 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) spokesperson Army Captain Cenon Pancito III said it is their right to conduct their own probe and they respect it.

But he pointed out that what is important to authorities is the fact that there is a crime committed, and they should answer in the proper body why a crime was committed at their premises.

Meanwhile, six of the 57 activists arrested for reported association with the New People's Army (NPA) following simultaneous raids of offices belonging to various militant groups in Bacolod City and Escalante City were slapped with qualified human trafficking charges at the Bacolod City Hall of Justice Wednesday morning, November 6, 2019.

Pancito identified the six as Albert Dela Cerna, John Milton Lozande, Noli Laceras Rosales, Proceso Quiatchon, Mae Dela Cerna, and Cherryl Catalogo.

Pancito said four of the suspects are considered "high-value individuals."

Earlier, 44 of the arrested progressive members were slapped with illegal possession of firearms charges by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.


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