Karapatan: 4 women nabbed in Ecija not NPA rebels
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—- Human rights watchdog Karapatan on Tuesday called on the Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to release four women who were arrested in Nueva Ecija on Oct. 13 by the military for being members of the New People’s Army.
Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, disputed this, describing Yolanda Diamsay Ortiz, 46, as a member of militant group Anakpawis, and Eulalia Ladesma, 44, as a member of the Gabriela Women’s Partylist.
Edzel Amocling, 23, and Rachel Galario, 20, are youth activists who have been advocating farmers’ rights, she said.
The relatives of Ortiz and Ladesma have confirmed that the four women were in the custody of the CIDG at the old capitol building in Cabanatuan City, but paralegal workers were denied access to them, Palabay said.
Citing bruises on their faces, Ortiz and Ladesma may have been “badly beaten by their captors,” Palabay said in a statement, citing information supplied by the relatives.
“We call for the immediate release of the Ortiz, Ladesma, Amocling and Galario. We condemn this continuing spate of attacks against activists and rights defenders. This reminds us that torture is very much a part of the military and police’s practice, despite national and international laws and agreements that prohibit its use,” according to the statement.
But Lt. Col. Eugene Osias, public information chief of the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division, said Karapatan had no evidence the four women were tortured.
“How can Karapatan say that the four captured amazons were tortured? What is their proof? It is easy for them to accuse things like that without any basis,” Osias said.
He said the four women were “declared OK,” after undergoing medical examination following their arrest.
“The CIDG and other law enforcement agencies, including the Army, are authorities who observe human rights. We adhere to International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights with the highest regards,” Osias said.
The Army reported the women’s capture in Rizal town, claiming they possessed a sub-machine gun, ammunition and four hand grenades but a Karapatan report said they were arrested in Natividad town, also in Nueva Ecija.
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