STOP POLITICAL PERSECUTION! RESIST OPLAN BANTAY LAYA!
Last March 22, at 6:30 pm, Myrna Abraham was abducted by four men who identified themselves as policemen at Pamplona Cagayan after she alighted from a Gabriel Liner bus. Witnesses say that she was forced into a white van.
This was immediately reported by eyewitnesses to a nearby PNP headquarter in Pamplona. The police who responded to the report was not able to see the incident or catch the abductors.
Myrna is a long-time organizational development consultant for Danggayan – the Cagayan Valley chapter of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and a partner people’s organization of the Regional Development Center – KADUAMI of which she was a former board member. She is also a member of Anakpawis - Cagayan Valley Chapter. She was a teacher of Jose Rizal University and formerly Colegio del Buen Conseho.
Yesterday, March 24, her colleagues were able to locate her. After her abduction, Myrna said that she was brought in a safehouse and was subjected to interrogation by a certain “Raymond Wong” who claimed to “belong to the Philippine government”who insisted that she was “Nel Villanueva”. She is now detained in BJMP, Tuguegarao, Cagayan for violation of Comelec Resolution 8714 as well as for murder of a certain Johnny D. Belo of Amulong, Cagayan on October 23, 2002 which the 17th IBPA filed against her. Among the accused in the murder charge is Nel Villanueva. The 17th IBPA filed the R.A. 8714 because allegedly they found two hand grenades among her things. Myrna denied that she had hand grenades in her possession and said that these were planted on her belongings.
Her abductors took all her three bags – 1 envelop bag, 1 utility bag, 1 handbag, her wallet, all identification cards, credit cards, atm cards, cellphone, a hard drive, and 1 usb flash disk. They failed to
return all this to her and only gave her some of her toiletries.
Her family remains worried on her condition in jail and are hoping that the trumped up charges against her will be immediately dismissed.
A day after Myrna Abraham’s abduction, Art Allad-iw, current vice-chairperson of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), received a death threat from unknown sender. The letter which was delivered to the Cordillera People’s Alliance office on March 23 stated:
Tila walang saysay at huwad ang inyong planong paglilingkod da bayan. Aming napatunayan na patuloy ang iyong pakikipag-alyado sa kaaway ng demokrasya, ang CPP-NPA. Malinaw na ito’y pagsang-ayon at pagtalima sa buktot at maling paniniwala ng komunismo.
SA GANITONG KADAHILANAN, AMING IPINARARATING ANG “ITIM NA LASO” KALAKIP NG LIHAM NA ITO, NA MAGBIBIGAY BABALA NA ANG IYONG BUHAY GAYUN DIN SA PAMILYA MO AY HIRAM LAMANG.
Sumalangit nawa ang inyong kaluluwa.
Nagmamahal sa Bayan at Demokrasya.”
Mr. Allad-iw is running for City Councilor this coming elections. The threat is seen not just as a move to deter him from participating as a candidate in the elections but also as an attempt to neutralize his efforts in criticizing the anti-people policies, acts and programs of the Arroyo government. Mr. Allad-iw was a former deputy Secretary General of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and staff of Dinteg Cordillera Indigenous Peoples Legal Center. The threat against him and his family is also connected to the vilification campaign against progressive people’s organizations, Senatorial candidates Liza Maza and Satur Ocampo and the different partylists like Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Partylist, Katribu, ACT, and Anakpawis that we have documented and complained with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
Recently, some City Councilors and candidates in the local elections have informed us that they received letters threatening them if they would continue to support Liza Maza, Satur Ocampo and the progressive partylists. The letters state that: “Ang BAYAN MUNA, ANAKPAWIS, GABRIELA, KABATAAN, KATRIBU, ACT at AKAP BATA Partylists ay mga kasangkapan ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas para sa eleksyon 2010. Layunin nito ang mapasok muli an gating demokratikong institusyon upang sirain mula sa kaloob-looban…KAYA SA DARATING NA ELEKSYON NGAYONG MAYO 2010, HUWAG MAGPALINLANG. HUWAG MAKIPAG-ALYADO, SUMUPORTA O HUMINGI NG TULONG SA MGA KOMUNISTA. MAHALIN ANG IYONG BUHAY AT DEMOKRASYA. ITO AY PAUNANG BABALA!”. The letters also had the same signatory as the one Mr. Allad-iw received.
The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) strongly condemns these recent human rights violations which we see as part of the desperate attempts of the Arroyo government to accomplish its Oplan Bantay Laya targets by June 2010. We hold the State and its security forces accountable for the abduction and illegal detention of Myrna Abraham and the death threat against Art Allad-iw and his family and other people who received the threatening letter. We continue to condemn the labeling of members and leaders of progressive people’s organizations as sectoral fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). This labeling legitimizes the attack on individuals and organizations. These acts sow fear among people and deter participation in the already limited democratic space granted by the Philippine government. This is very dangerous especially in the light of the upcoming elections.
We appeal to the public to join us in raising our condemnation against these violations. It was through a strong public opinion, and support here and abroad on Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's human rights record that cases of extrajudicial killings were lessened in 2007. We want not just a decrease in the number of human rights violations but an end to it. Operation Plan Bantay Laya must be immediately stopped and violations committed by the State and its agents should be brought to court and be meted out with appropriate punishments. It is through vigilance that we can ensure the defense and protection of our rights and also the realization of a truly clean, honest and meaningful election. #