Pregnant farmer-organizer held, harrassed by Army in Davao Oriental

Oct. 21, 2014

DAVAO CITY — Two women, one of them three months pregnant, were allegedly held in custody by an Army unit without an arrest warrant in Davao Oriental late last night.

They also told media that they were “harassed” into telling their captors that they were rebel surrenderees.

In a telephone interview with Davao Today, Angelita Salientes, 20 years old and three months pregnant, and Lovely Jean Madinajon, 19, said they were accosted 11 pm last night by a joint Army and Police checkpoint in the public market of Manay, Davao Oriental.

“We were on our way home when the motorcycle where we were riding was held and searched. At first, they held us because our driver was driving without license. After a while, they let the driver go but they forced us to remain,” said Salientes.

She said they were taken around the neighboring town of Caraga and at 2 am, they arrived at the headquarters of the 701st Infantry Battalion in Barangay Don Martin Marundan, Mati City.

“We were interrogated by many individuals to whom we don’t know or recognize. They did not even give us any food since last night,” she said.

Sandra Campos, a staff of human rights group Karapatan Southern Mindanao said they only knew of the “illegal arrest” of the two Tuesday and went to “rescue” them.

Campos said when they arrived, the victims were crying, prompting the staff to confront the issue to a “non-uniformed” Army personnel.

“He said they have a warrant for the two but they arrested the women without any papers. They could not produce any document of complaint either,” Campos said.

She said they grabbed the two women and ran to their vehicle where they immediately locked the doors.

“We demanded that we will only talk with the police so when the police came, we immediately proceeded to the Mati Police Station,” said the human rights worker.

Campos said they are currently in the Mati Police Station to file a police blotter so that they could “hold responsible the Army officers who committed the illegal detention.”

As of press time, Davao Today is trying to get the side of the Army unit involved in the incident. (

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