Raps vs abducted Bayan Muna leader slammed

Jul. 03, 2007

DAVAO CITY, the Philippines — Bayan Muna has assailed the government for its alleged persistence in persecuting its members and leaders, as evidenced by the rebellion charge filed recently against Gilbert Cardino, the groups coordinator for South Cotabato who was abducted and tortured by suspected military agents last month in Koronadal City.

Leo Palmeja, spokesman of Bayan Muna in Koronadal City, said the rebellion charges against Cardino showed the continuing efforts of the Arroyo administration to suppress dissent.

Palmeja said the charge against Cardino illustrates the fact that the Arroyo regime has rigorously, systematically and intentionally waging an all-out war against the Filipino people who are participating in legitimate struggles against political repression and human-rights violations.

The rebellion charge against Cardino and at least 15 others, including Jose Maria Sison and Luis Jalandoni of the National Democratic Front, was filed in November 2006. But Cardino said he knew about this case only last week, when he received a subpoena from prosecutors.

Signed by Prosecutor Alfredo Odi, the subpoena asked Cardino to submit his reply within 10 days. The subpoena was dated June 21, or 15 days after he was abducted.

But instead of submitting a counter-affidavit, the camp of Cardino said they would ask for an extension of the period given by the prosecutors office.

Warren Cahayag, council member of the Union of Peoples Lawyers of Mindanao (UPLM), said Cardino’s lawyers were still preparing their counter-affidavit. Cardino is still recuperating from the trauma he suffered as a result of physical and psychological torture, Cahayag said.

Cardino is very much willing to face the charges against him but he is still preparing for yet another battle. Obviously, this is another form of attack and intimidation against him who has barely recovered from the horror he has experienced from his captors, Cahayag said.

Cardino is accused involvement in the burning of a Piltel Telecommunications Tower in 2001, the bombing of bus of the Yellow Bus Line in Koronadal in 2001, the disarming of Mayor Isidro Janeta of the town of Banga in 2002, the disarming of SPO1 Eddie Orencio in 2003, and the ambush of one Col. Andes and his escort in 2003.

Palmeja said that the abduction and torture of Cardino and the many cases of deaths and abduction of militant leaders and members is a prelude to the implementation of the Human Security Act on July 15. (davaotoday.com)

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