Progressive youth group Kabataan Partylist Laguna condemns the baseless and illegal arrest of 11 activists today, July 3, in Brgy. Pulo, Cabuyao, Laguna by suspected elements of the police and military, including KPL’s Secretary General, Marife Valdeavilla.
The arrests were made when a peaceful protest against the insidious Terror Law was violently dispersed by state agents, some in plainclothes.
“Hindi pa naipatutupad ang batas, ganito na agad kasahol ang ginagawa ng mga pulis laban sa kung sino mang magsalita laban sa pamahalaan,” said Justin Umali, Chairperson of Kabataan Partylist Laguna. “Siguradong mas malala pa dito ang abuso sa karapatang pantao sa oras na magkaroon ng bisa ang Terror Law. Nakakagalit na walang mamamayang ligtas sa ilalim ng nasabing batas. Kahit sino, basta magsabi ng kritisismo, ay tatawagin nilang terorista. Ginagamit lamang nila ang terorismo bilang palusot upang mapatahimik ang mamamayang mulat na sa kapalpakan at katiwalian ng rehimeng Duterte.”
According to an eye-witness account, at around 4:30 PM, a military vehicle was parked near the barangay hall blasting black propaganda against organizations like KPL Laguna. The spiel insinsuated that they were recruiting the youth as front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
The program started at around 5 pm. After the program, while the organizers were packing up, suspected elements of the 2nd Infantry Division, AFP, approached the group and began to arrest the individuals.
Aside from Valdeavilla, the 10 others arrested with her are:
Kyle Salgado – Karapatan ST
Casey Cruz – Bayan ST
Shirley Songalia Gabriela ST
Helen Catahay – Gabriela
Fatima Banjawan – Gabriela
Emmanuel Numeron – BM youth
Jemme Mia Antonio – Liga ng Manggagawa
Miguel Portea – Starter Piston
Sweden John Aberde – Pamantik KMU
Renero Maarat – Pamantik KMU
Banjawan, Numeron, and Valdeavilla are all minors. The 11 are all currently in the custody of Cabuyao Municipal Police Station as of press time.
Umali asserted that the protesters were well within their rights.”Hindi terorista ang mga aktibista at mga mamamayang nagsasabi ng saloobin at katotohanan,” he said. “Ang pagdakip sa kanila ay pagtanggal din sa ating kalayaan. Nananawagan kaming ibalita sa mga mamamayan ang pasistang atake ng pulis sa Cabuyao 11. Nararapat lang na malaman nila kung gaano kasahol ang kapulisan at walang ligtas sa kamay nila.”
Umali also noted that this was not the first time KPL Laguna was harassed and terror-tagged by the AFP. A letter from the 2ID’s Task Force Ugnay insinuated that Brgy. Pulo was a “center for youth recruitment” by members of the CPP-NPA-NDF, implying that KPL Laguna was one of the organizations responsible.
He also pointed out that the military has been aggressive in its “Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo Forum” in schools and communities, in which speakers spread lies about KPL being a “front organization of the CPP.”
“Patunay lamang ito na hindi talaga mapagkakatiwalaan ang rehimeng ito sa usaping pagtatanggol sa karaptan natin,” said Umali. “Wala silang respeto sa hinaing ng mamamayan. Hindi pa effective ang batas ng Terror Law pero hayok na hayok na sila sa terorismo. Paano pa kaya kung mayroon na?”
KPL Laguna is calling on the Cabuyao PNP and the 2ID to be accountable for their sordid action! They are calling for the immediate release of the 11 Cabuyao activists and for charges to be filed against the people who conducted the illegal arrest.###