IN THEIR ILLEGAL ARREST AND DETENTION IN MT. PROVINCE The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) condemns the illegal arrest and detention of three local tourists in Sagada, Mt. Province by the operatives of the Regional SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics), Philippine National Police (PNP) led by Senior Supt. Ulysses J. Abellera together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The three victims are Aileen Cruz, Rey Busania, and Ofelia Inong. They are innocent local tourists who went to Sagada on September 9, 2013 to visit the famous tourist destination. Their vacation turned into a nightmare. In September 10, undetermined joint operatives of SWAT and AFP stormed the lodge where they were staying. The operatives forcibly opened the rooms. Once inside their rooms and without explaining why they were there and without presenting warrants, the operatives immediately handcuffed Busania and the two women were ordered to drop to the floor while their hands are placed on their back. Their things and the rooms they occupied and even adjacent rooms were searched. At around 10:00 in the evening of the same day, the three victims were brought to the Mt. Province Provincial Police Office in Bontoc. Their police escorts told the victims that they were to be presented to the fiscal for their cases. At the PNP provincial office, they were being coerced to sign several papers but the victims did not sign any. The two women were also handcuffed. The three were detained together at the VAW office. They were not able to sleep that night. The three victims were only brought to the fiscal’s office at around 2:30 in the afternoon of September 11. At the fiscal’s office, Cruz and Busania were immediately cleared of any cases. Inong on the other hand was told that there is a warrant of arrest issued against her. When the warrant of arrest was shown to her, Inong was shocked to see that the name under the warrant is a certain Lolita Loguibis. According to the police and AFP press releases, Loguibis is the finance and logistics officer of the New Peoples Army (NPA) and they alleged that Inong is Loguibis which is not the case. Despite being without legal basis to hold Busania, the PNP provincial office did not release Busania. The PNP provincial office told him that they are waiting for a warrant

of arrest for him. Later in the afternoon of the same date, a murder warrant issued in Maddela, Quirino was received by the PNP provincial office. Busania and Inong spent another night at the PNP provincial office. The next day, Inong was brought to the Bontoc District Jail. Busania was left at the PNP provincial office waiting for his transfer to Quirino province. CHRA condemns this illegal arrest and detention of the three. The manner of their arrest and detention is clearly a violation of their rights. First, there is no warrant of arrest. Second, there is no search warrant. Third, as accused persons, they should have been read their rights. Fourth, the victims were detained for more than 24 hours without any charges filed against them. No one should be arrested and detained without due process. We strongly suspect that the motive of the arrest and detention is the collection of the reward money being dangled by the State as part of their counter-insurgency policy. According to Capt. Gina Daet, Spokesperson of the Northern Luzon Command, the alleged Loguibis whom they claim to be Ofelia Inong has a PHP 2.05 M reward money for her arrest. The case of security guard Rolly Panesa who was illegally arrested, tortured and detained for PHP5.7 M because he was accused to be a top-ranking Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) leader is a clear example of this. He was recently released after being denied his freedom for close to ten months as the Court found the cases against him unfounded. We call for the immediate release of Ofelia Inong and Rey Busania. Their continuing detention is unjust and illegal. We also call for the scrapping of the policy of giving reward money for arrests. This bounty hunting poses a grave threat to any citizen whom State security forces pick up and allege to be the people in their wanted list. If this is where our taxes go, we call on Congress to grant a zero budget for OPlan Bayanihan under which these cases are being perpetrated. We also demand for accountability. The units and officers involved in the illegal arrest and detention should be sanctioned for each violation they have committed against the Aileen Cruz, Rey Busania, and Ofelia Inong. #   For  reference:     Jude  Baggo   Secretary  General  

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