DAVAO CITY – Progressive groups here called on residents to support their leaders who have warrants of arrest for charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of evacuees whom they assisted during an evacuation at a church compound last year.
“Fellow Davaoeños, you witnessed the unity of the city of Davao on helping the Lumad bakwits (evacuees), and now the leaders who helped the Lumads needs our help,” said youth leader Malaya Genotiva during a protest rally at San Pedro street here Monday, July 4.
“What we can do now is to remove the wanted posters scattered around some streets of the city,” Genotiva said.
On Monday, reports from Anakbayan said that they already saw wanted posters of the 15 activists including church leaders along San Pedro and Bajada streets.
Fifteen leaders of different progressive groups are charged with warrant of arrest last May 13, but they were informed of the warrant only on June 28. The court order, signed by Regional Trial Court 10 Judge Retrina E. Fuentes, was “funny and ridiculous” according to progressive groups.
The warrant of arrest was based on complaint dated July 11, 2015, filed by Lumads from Bukidnon namely Datu Kulampot Dalon, Datu Larie Landahay, Libara Angkomog, Toto, Angkomog, Juvnie Angkomog, Limar Mangomoy-at and tata Angkamag Lundig.
“It was very clear that complaints filed were all trumped up by the military,” Genotiva said.
Ellen Manlibaas, a lumad leader from Barangay White Culaman, Kitaotao, Bukidnon wanted the warrant to be dismissed.
Manlibaas was one of the 400 lumads who are still staying in a church compound here in the city.
“We were not forced (to evacuate), we are the ones who sought for the help of the church people and other progressive organizations,” she said.
“They helped us, but what have you done to them?” she said.
The groups also lit candles during the protest rally to condemn the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.
Genotiva said that Aquino, on his last days in the service, “maneuvered to release the warrant of arrest.”
“He should be the one to go to jail,” said Genotiva.
The groups are also calling for the people to support the dismissal of the cases filed against the activists and “for the new administration to prosecute Aquino that has done a lot of violations to the people,” Genotiva said.
From July 2010 to March 2016, human rights group Karapatan, recorded more than 519,177 victims of human rights violations under the Aquino administration.
Karapatan said 318 victims of extrajudicial killings, 89 of which are members of indigenous tribes, 152 from Mindanao and 64 from Bicol Region.
Jong Monzon, secretary general of the Pasaka Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao hopes that the new administration will support them to be able to return to their communities.
“We also call for the new President to drop the charges against our leaders,” Monzon said.
According to the group, President Duterte helped the Lumads in facilitating their evacuation and accommodating them in the city.
Duterte, being then chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council Region XI, facilitated dialogues between the lumad leaders and the military and local government unit heads. (davaotoday.com)