Environmental activist arrested for rebellion
An environmental activist in Ilocos has been arrested for rebellion, an environmental group said Tuesday.
Sherwin De Vera, coordinator of Defend Ilocos, a network of environmental advocates in the Ilocos region, was arrested by the police while on his way home to Candon, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Human Rights Alliance Secretary General Mary Ann Gabayan said in a statement.
According to a statement issued by Karapatan, De Vera said he was on board a bus when it was flagged down at a checkpoint.
A police officer approached him and asked for his identification. The officers told him that they were inviting him to the police station.
“Sinabi ko na sasama lang ako kung may warrant sila,” De Vera said. “Pinilit akong pababain sa bus. Kaya nag-ingay na ako. Sinabi ko na aktibista ako at regional coordinator ng Defend Ilocos. Saka lang nagsabi na may warrant ako.”
[I told him that I would only go with them if they have warrant of arrest. They insist that I get off the bus so I made a commotion. I said that I’m an activist and regional coordinator of Defend Ilocos. That’s when they told me they had a warrant for my arrest.]
“Ipinakita lang warrant, pero di ibinigay sa akin,” he said. “Rebelyon daw ang kaso ko. Kinaladkad ako pababa ng bus at pinosasan. Pinakalkal ko bag ko sa harap ng mga tao at wala sila nakita.”
[They showed me a warrant but they refused to give it to me. They told I have a case for rebellion. I was dragged down the bus and handcuffed. I gave them my bag for inspection in front of otehr peope, but they did not find anything.]
On arriving at the police station, De Vera said he was shown a copy of the said rebellion case with number 2014-155 and filed on Sept. 4, 2014.
He said they took all his belongings, including his laptop, notebooks, and money.
He is currently detained in Camp Elpidio Quirino in Bulag, Bantay, Ilocos Sur. He said the police told him he would be brought to Abra Regional Trial Court Branch 2 on Wednesday.
De Vera is the first reported activist to be arrested on rebellion charges after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation No. 374, declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist groups.
In his letter to Congress asking to extend martial law for one year, Duterte cited the NPA as one of the threats to security in Mindanao. /atm
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