2 activists held in Manila
Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Non Alquitran (The Philippine Star) - November 2, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Two activists were arrested on Thursday by elements of the Manila Police District (MPD) for alleged possession of firearms and explosives.

Cora Agovida, spokesperson and chairperson of Gabriela Manila, and her husband Michael Bartolome of Kadamay Metro Manila were arrested during a raid on their house in Paco, Manila.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the MPD implemented the search warrant approved by Quezon City Regional Trial Court executive judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert.

They allegedly yielded a .45 caliber pistol and two grenades.

Their two children, aged 10 and two, were also put in the custody of the Manila Reception and Action Center.

In a statement, Gabriela condemned their arrest as it also coincided with the police raids in Bacolod City on the offices of Gabriela, Bayan Muna and the National Federation of Sugar Workers that resulted in the arrest of 56 people.

The group said the police planted the evidence on the couple.

“We call for the immediate release of those arrested in the raids conducted in Manila and Bacolod. We vehemently condemn the use of spurious search warrants to orchestrate raids and mass arrests based on fabricated evidences against members and leaders of legitimate people’s organizations,” Gabriela said.

Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, National Capital Region Police Office chief, yesterday denied allegations of a crackdown on militant personalities and groups.

MPD director Brig. Gen. Bernabe Balba implemented the search warrant “with us not knowing our targets,” Sinas said, adding that they did not have complete details on the couple until their supporters staged a protest in front of the MPD headquarters

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