Local News: Counter-Charges Poised Heads of COGs Slam Arrest of Leaders, Members Robbery-in-Band Cases Levelled on Fishpond Raid
About six or seven leaders and members of cause-oriented groups (COGs) sectoral organizations and partylist political parties, have vowed to file counter-charges against those responsible for issuances of warrants of arrest which were carried out by the police and the military, Tuesday, April 3. They were arrested on the strength of robbery-in-band charges filed against them.
Unfortunately, all the seven are members of legal, progressive organizations who insisted that the basis of their arrest, the alleged raid on the fishpond of the Sarrosa family in Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City is null and void. They simply were not among those who raided the Sarrosa fishpond on July 16, 2011.
One of those arrested but who posted a bail bond of P40,000 were Christian Tuayon and cause-oriented Fred Caña of Karapatan-Negros, Romulo Bitoon of Makabayan-Negros and Ricky Larit of the United Negros Drivers’ Operators’ Center (UNDOC) who slammed the military and the police for including them among members of the armed components belonging to the NPA when they were innocent of the alleged raid. Some of those on the list in the warrants of arrest have already been earlier arrested in a different warrant for another alleged crime.
Those who presided over the press conference at the Negros Press Club (NPC), yesterday morning were Tuayon, Fred Caña of Karapatan-Negros, Bitoon of Makabayan-Negros and Larit of UNDOC.
Tuayon who was arrested last week during a "Kalbaryo ng Bayan" said they were contemplating on filing charges against those responsible for issuing them warrants of arrest. He denied having joined the guerillas of the NPAs in the Sagay fishpond raid. He was never a guerilla fighter of the NPA, nor was he anywhere in the area, when the raid took place. He was in Bacolod City, attending a picket carried out by Bayan-Negros then. It was never his role to join any military raid on any target. He was a legal personality, it was pointed out.
Those whose names were included along with names of alleged NPA leaders were Josephine Torrecampo, Sarah Alvarez, KMU-Negros leader Ronald Ian Evidente, Anecita Rojo and several others mostly belonging to legal organizations.
Like themselves, said Bitoon, those named were never issued subpoenas or summons as the procedure should be. They should then be asked to answer charges against them, he said, referring to the city prosecutors.
Rabid ‘repressions and suppression’ is being allegedly carried out against leaders and members of the cause-oriented group Bayan, Kilusang Mayo UNO-Negros, Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas-Negros and UNDOC, those who presided over the press conference, said.
This attack appears to be part of Oplan Bayanihan, the military and the Aquino government’s counter-insurgency strategy those who presided over the press conference, said.
"And the arrest was carried out during the Lenten season so that those who were subjects of warrant of arrest could not post bail bonds," Tuayon, who declared that he was present in Bacolod most of the time also said.
It was the members of the Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU) of Region VI and the military intelligence service which carried out the arrests. Only Tuayon was arrested during a rally Tuesday at the public plaza. He immediately posted bail bond for his temporary liberty.
When those arrested asked who initiated the complaints against them, policemen said it was the military. The policemen said they did not know until now that cases especially robbery-in-band were filed against them along with those they did not even know personally.
Earlier, leaders of cause-oriented groups including Bitoon, Torrecampo, Rogina Navarro, Anecita Rojo, Greg Tuayon and others were included in warrants of arrest, after so-called John Does were replaced with real names, their own names under the warrants. Earlier, partylist Congressman Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casiño questioned this practice carried out by the military and police.
The leaders alleged that if this is the case, there is something that matter with the prosecution and judiciary system which must be corrected.
He had just delivered a talk when a police officer in plainclothes, another violation, handed to him the warrant for his arrest, Tuayon said. They tried looking for Ronald Ian Evidente, another subject of the warrant issued by Sagay City OIC City Prosecutor Ronald Yngson. The warrants of arrest were issued January 20, this year yet.
Several of the witnesses in the complaints who issued signed affidavits were rebel returnees, who were allegedly used by the military.
This is a desperate move which would warrant the filing of countercharges against those responsible for this travesty of justice, those who aired their side during the press conference, stated.* (EDGAR CADAGAT)