BAGUIO

Kalinga woman leader arrested

AN ALLEGED suspect in a raid against a Cafgu detachment in Uma, Lubuagan, Kalinga was arrested by police and military personnel after the recovery of firearms in her residence.

Audrey Corse, secretary-general of Innabuyog, said combined elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police and the 503rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army (IBPA) arrested Beatrice Belen of the Uma tribe on Sunday in Ag-agama, Western Uma, Kalinga following a search in her home at 5 a.m.

Corce said the homes of five other villagers -- Buscayno Bommosaw, Samuel Sangdaan, Raping Angngalao, Wangdali Bilin and Pedro Gullac -- were also searched.

"Three rifles were allegedly recovered in Betty's home. She was brought to the Kalinga Provincial Police Station in Tabuk. She was accompanied by her relatives and barangay officials of Western Uma," added Corse.

Belen was the former regional vice-chairperson of Innabuyog and continues to work for women's rights and indigenous peoples' rights in Kalinga.

Police Major Carol Lacuata, Police Regional Office (PRO)-Cordillera information officer, meanwhile told SunStar Baguio that authorities implemented the search warrant issued by Judge Jerson Angog of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 25 of Tabuk City, Kalinga, resulting in the arrest of the suspect for violation Republic Act 10591, and confiscation of three pieces riffle grenades found within the vicinity of the suspect's residence.

Lacauta added the issuance of the search warrant was for 13 identified residential areas, including Belen's residence where the firearms were allegedly found.

Peoples organization Karapatan denounced the arrest of Belen.

According to the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance and the Cordillera People's Alliance, the arresting team searched houses in barangays Western Uma and Lower Uma.

"Belen, her husband and two grandchildren were led outside their home when the search was conducted at their residence. After the search reportedly resulted in seizure of firearms and explosives, Betty was arrested and brought to the Kalinga Police Provincial Office," Karapatan said.

Karapatan records show there are 102 women political prisoners, most if not all are women human rights defenders, who are languishing in various jails and detention centers in the country. (With a report from Jonathan Llanes)


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