Philippines: ‘Soldiers arrested Borja in my presence to intimidate, vilify Bayan Muna’ Casio

May. 10, 2007

MANILA — Bayan Muna party list Rep. Teddy Casio is accusing the military in Ormoc City of illegally arresting one of their campaigners in his presence and using the arrest to link Bayan Muna to the New Peoples Army.

The plot is now clear. They arrest Anakpawis Eastern Visayas Regional Campaign Officer Vincent Bebot Borja in my presence, falsely portray him as an NPA hitman, and then make it appear that Bayan Muna has links to the NPA. Its a cruel propaganda trick, but thats how desperate they are to stop Bayan Muna from winning in the elections, Casio lamented.

He accused Lt. Col. Lope Dagoy, head of the Armys 19th Infantry Batallion and AFP officials of lying through their teeth when they expressed surprise at finding him and Borja together. Of course they knew I was with Bebot that night. We were supposed to go to a political rally together. With their checkpoints and intelligence operatives tailing us all the way from Tacloban City, it is impossible for them not to have known I was there to campaign with Bebot and other leaders from Ormoc, he stressed.

The questionable warrant of arrest they used was dated November 2006. If that was really for Bebot, why did it take them six months to serve it? Bebot was never in hiding. He was all over Leyte campaigning for Anakpawis. He is a labor organizer in Ormoc. They simply could have served the warrant in his office or house, said Casio.

In fact, Bebot’s name wasn’t even on the warrant but Lt. Col. Dagoy went ahead and arrested him at the very moment when I sat beside Bebot. The timing was just too perfect, said an incredulous Casio.

The solon laughed at the AFP’s threats to file a case of obstruction of justice against him. Is it now obstructing justice to ask for a warrant of arrest? Is it obstructing justice to demand that a person’s name should be in a warrant before he is arrested? Or that an arrested person should not be harmed? Is it obstructing justice to insist on the proper procedure for serving a warrant?

In the first place, why was it Col. Dagoy making the arrest and not the police? In fact, why wasn’t there any police officer to serve the warrant? Why were the soldiers all in civilian clothes? Why were there no plates on their vehicles? Casino queried.

Casio added that his lawyers are now studying what cases he can file against Dagoy and his unit for the threats, lies and acts of intimidation committed on him and his group of campaigners in Ormoc City. ####

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