MANILA, Philippines - Rights group Karapatan on Friday called on the government to stop the series of illegal arrests and detention of civilians whom the Aquino administration accused as members or supporters of the New People’s Army.
Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay raised the alarm as 28 people were successively arrested and detained in less than one month, from December 2012 to early January this year.
"The government’s desperation to meet the Oplan Bayanihan’s 2013 first phase deadline shows in the manner by which these arrests were conducted and the increasing pattern of filing trumped-up charges against activists and civilians," she said.
Palabay said the government has established a very dangerous pattern of inserting names in existing warrants of arrest to legitimize false charges and clamp down on persons perceived as enemies of the state.
She cited the case of security guard Rolly Panesa who the military insists until now as the P5.6-million prized-catch “Benjamin Mendoza” of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
The group also noted that indigenous people in Negros Occidental were arrested and jailed in the course of military operations in the community, accusing them of coddling NPA members.
The 28 arrested were from Cagayan Valley, Negros Oriental and Occidental, Quezon and members of Courage and Piston, organizations of government employees and drivers, respectively and, of Act Teachers Partylist, the rights group added.