Bayan says arrest of Mindanao journalist 'abuse of the law' | Inquirer News
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Bayan says arrest of Mindanao journalist ‘abuse of the law’

By: - Reporter / @FMOrellanaINQ
/ 02:41 PM June 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The head of militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) on Monday called for an end to what he said was abuse of the law following the arrest of Mindanao veteran journalist Margarita Valle.

Renato Reyes, Bayan secretary general, said Valle’s arrest was illegal and another example of “how the law has been weaponized to go after  critics of government.”

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“The practice of filing nonbailable trumped-up cases in far away areas, without preliminary investigation, and without the accused even knowing they are charged until a warrant has been issued, has been going on for quite some time,” Reyes said in a statement.

“This is the same issue faced by peace advocate Rey Casambre and unionist Maoj Maga, who were charged by courts in Mindanao without them even knowing until they were arrested. This is abuse of the law. This must stop now,” he added.

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Reyes also questioned the timing of Valle’s arrest for a decade-old case.

“The warrant was issued during previous administrations. Ms. Valle was never in hiding. Why arrest her now? Why deny her her rights? Why prevent her from communicating with her lawyers and family? Why prevent her from establishing her identity early on?” Reyes said.

Police arrested Valle on Sunday (June 9) at the airport in Cagayan de Oro City and held for nearly nine hours for a murder and arson case which militant groups described as trumped-up.

Police later freed her, saying it was just a case of “mistaken identity.”

Valle’s full name is Fedelina Margarita Avellanosa Valle. She was mistaken for Elsa Renton — also known as Tina Maglaya and Fidelina Margarita Valle.

Renton, the individual mistaken to be Valle, was a suspected member of the communist movement and was the subject of a 2006 arrest warrant for arson and a 2011 arrest warrant for multiple murder with quadruple frustrated murder and damage to government property. (Editor: Tony Bergonia)

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TAGS: arrest, communist, Journalist, Mindanao, Valle
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