Witnesses presented by military are paramilitary group members, lumad leaders say
DAVAO CITY — Lumad leaders here identified the two members presented by the military as fellow lumad who had joined the paramilitary group Alamara, the same group tasked to shut down and destroy their school.
Datu Kaylo Bontulan, one of the lumad leaders of Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanugon (Unity to Defend the Land), said the two lumad presented by the military had been offered money and Pajero not only to shut down their school but also to totally destroy those who wanted the school to continue.
“That’s why they want to totally destroy us because they would not get their Pajero and their money if they could not close the school and send us away,” Bontulan told the Inquirer by phone.
He said he learned about the Pajero being dangled to members of the Alamara from sources in Talaingod. He said the group was given a van, which they were already using, but still, they were promised a Pajero.
Bontulan identified Awing Guibang, as the son of former Salugpongan leader Datu Guibang Apoga.
Awing, he said, joined the Alamara sometime in 2016, when the soldiers started camping in their place, forcing and enticing the lumad to join the paramilitary group to fight the New People’s Army.
In June this year, Awing’s father, Datu Guibang Apoga, was forced to surrender to the military shortly after he went home to recover from his ailment. Bontulan said Datu Guibang could no longer do anything because he was sick and his house was already surrounded by soldiers.
He added that Asenad Bago, a former Grade 2 pupil of the Salugpongan, dropped out of school and joined the Alamara years ago after soldiers started camping near their school in 2011.
“They were the same personalities brought by Mocha Uson in the University of the Philippines,” said Dulphing Ogan of the lumad group Kalumaran. “They were booted out (of UP) because they were fake and known attack dogs of the military who pretended to know the real situation of the lumad.”
Ogan said the AFP and PNP are desperate to refile the trumped-up charges against the 18 political activists charged in Talaingod, that’s why they present false witnesses to the public.
“They are good at presenting false witnesses,” he said. “Presenting lumad who have no credibility as witnesses only show their desperation to pin down the Talaingod 18,” Ogan said.
“About their statement that we have changed the words of the national anthem in our school, it was not true, there was a singer who said she was the one who changed the lyrics, not us. We are teaching the same national anthem in our school,” Bontulan said. Germelina Lacorte, Mart Sambalud, Inquirer Mindanao
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