Jailed COVID-19 hit KMP leader dies

Rhodina Villanueva, Ding Cervantes - The Philippine Star

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Detained Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) vice chairman Joseph Canlas died of complications due to COVID-19 yesterday morning.

In a statement, the KMP said Canlas, 59, who was also chairman of the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon, died at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital, where he was brought on Saturday.

“We could blame only the Duterte government for Canlas’ untimely death... He was exposed to COVID while in detention... His unjust detention led to the swift deterioration of his health,” the KMP said.

Canlas was arrested after a gun was allegedly found during a raid on his office in Mexico, Pampanga on March 30.

The group blamed the Angeles City Regional Trial Court, which issued the search warrant, and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group that executed the warrant and arrested Canlas without giving him immediate and proper medical attention.

Zenaida Soriano, militant women’s group Amihan national chairperson, said Bureau of Jail Management and Penology-Angeles district warden Supt. Rebecca Manalo-Tiguelo ignored Canlas when he complained that he was not feeling well, thinking that he was only ”acting.”

Militant farmers had earlier appealed to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to release Canlas and dismiss the charges filed against him. They said Canlas’ health deteriorated due to the miserable condition in the jail.



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