2 Samar farmers illegally arrested by gov’t troops says rights group

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Rights group Katungod.

MANILA, Philippines — Increasing the cases of human rights violations perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Eastern Visayas are the recent cases of illegal arrests of two farmers in Samar, human rights group Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas said on Sunday.

The two were identified as Christian Mabag, 25, and Pamfilo Gabino Labong, 69, of Sitio Bagti, Brgy. Mabini, Basey and Brgy. Calundan, San Jorge, both in the province of Samar respectively.

According to the group, both of them are facing ‘fabricated’ charges.

Mabag is currently detained at the Basey Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and is facing charges of illegal possession of firearms, live ammunitions and Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Labong is still locked up at the San Jorge Police Station because of the attempted murder charges filed against him.

Last December 10, members of the Special Action Forces under the command of a certain PSSG Rey Bachao barged into the house of Basey farmer Christian Mabag and immediately planted a short firearm inside Mabag’s house, as seen by the victim’s relative Joy Mabag, which was later on presented as evidence for Mabag’s arrest.

The said illegal arrest forced 96 families of the said village to evacuate to the nearest covered court in Brgy. Mabini because of fear.

Meanwhile, Labong was arrested by elements of the 87th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA) led by commanding officer 1st Lt. Estomata and two police officers in his farm last January 16, Thursday. The victim disclosed that he was hit in the chest by one of the state forces during an interrogation which took place in a military camp in Brgy. Irinas, San Jorge, Samar.

However, Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas and Labong’s family pressed that the name indicated in the arrest warrant does not match Labong’s name, hence making the arrest illegal. They also added that the state forces failed to explain the arrest warrant to Labong even after hearing his complaint.

It turns out that the military troops under the 63rd IBPA and 87th IBPA have actively been conducting military operations in Mabag and Labong’s villages respectively.

Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas pressed that these cases of illegal arrest and the recent case of extra-judicial killing in Lope de Vega, Northern Samar shows the Duterte administration’s insincerity to pursue the peace negotations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

“It is clear that the AFP is again orchestrating lies to sabotage the resumption of peace talks. The Duterte government should mandate the immediate pull out of troops from the peasant communities and place Memorandum Order No. 32 to an end if he is really serious in attaining peace in our country,” Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas spokesperson Alex Abinguna concluded. (Stacy Ang/IAMIGO/Currentph.com)

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