Army arrested 3 students and paraded them as captured NPAs, youth group says

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Senior Reporter, The Pamalakaya Times

Cebu City- The chairperson of the Cebu chapter of the militant youth group ANAKBAYAN on Wednesday condemned the illegal arrest and detention of three youth activists by the Philippine Army, who later paraded them as prize trophies as members of the New People’s army operating in the Central Philippines.

In a press statement emailed to The Pamalakaya Times, Anakbayan Cebu chair Regletto Aldrich Imbong charged members of the 79th IBPA over the unlawful arrest and detantion of Karlo Cabahug, Maria Carla Alvarico ang Glenn Absin, all members of the militant youth group.

The military in Central Visayas reported the three activist students youth were caught in gunfire between the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) and elements of the 79th IBPA in Pulang Yuta, Mayabon, Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental.

But the Anakbayan official dismissed the military report as fabricated. Imbong said the three were active militant youth leaders in Cebu. He said Alvarico, is the Chairperson of the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines; Cabahug was an active member of the Student Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (STAND)- University of San Carlos and an active alumni of the said organization; while Absin, was an active member of the League of Filipino Students (LFS) chapter in the province.

“This act of the AFP is never new. Especially that the most hated Operational Plan Bantay Laya II (OBL II) is going to end next year, the AFP is more desperate to capture CPP-NPAs in order to meet its objective, which is to destroy the armed revolution in the Philippines by 2010,” Imbong said.

He added: ” However, OBL2 only sows more human rights violations, both in the cities and in the country sides. What the AFP is doing is targeting members and leaders of legal militant organizations, in order to discredit the integrity of militant youth organizations. This is not just a desperate act, but also a cowardly one. Instead of chasing after their real enemies, the AFP chases after innocent victims.”

Anakbayan-Cebu chapter also asserted the illegal arrest and detention and the misrepresentation of three student activists also reflects the kind of justice system we have here in the Philippines. “The AFP, instead of upholding provisions stated in our 1987 constitution, are the ones violating it. Due process of law was never given to the three youth leaders and branding them already as “members of the NPA”, a move that directly violates the principle of presuming innocence to “suspects” unless proven guilty,’ the group said.

Anakbayan-Cebu chapter said these arbitrary arrests done by the AFP is possible to every innocent Filipino, and we are encouraging all Filipinos to be vigilant and more, militant, against these cowardly and desperate moves.

The left-leaning youth group said the armed revolution to end, the AFP and the US-Arroyo government must find solutions to the very roots of our problems, especially the centuries-old problem of landlessness in the Philippines.

Anakbayan said the moves of the US-Arroyo and the AFP seemed to be a fuel to the said armed revolution. Since the AFP failed to present real NPA captives, the AFP is just trying to say something of which they are ashamed to admit: that the armed revolution in the country sides, waged by the CPP-NPA, is getting stronger, a situation they can never control.#

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