Mistaken arrest of journalist aimed at harassing, silencing her, says solon
MANILA, Philippines — The “mistaken arrest” of a veteran community journalist in Mindanao was aimed at “harassing” and “silencing” her, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said Tuesday.
In a statement, the progressive lawmaker said Bayan Muna would support Fidelina Margarita Abellanosa-Valle if she decides to sue the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).
“It is clear that Ms. Fidelina’s abduction by the CIDG even when they later said that it was a case of mistaken identity [was] designed to unjustly harass and vilify her, considering her advocacy for the Lumads and for peace in Mindanao, both as a journalist and as an academician,” said Zarate.
The arrest, Zarate said, was not just meant to silence Valle, but also “to send a chilling message to others like her.”
Valle was arrested in Cagayan de Oro City by elements of the CIDG Region 9 Sunday.
But authorities later admitted she was only mistaken as Elsa Renton — whose aliases are Tina Maglaya and Fidelina Margarita Valle — a suspected member of the communist movement with arrest warrants for arson and multiple murder with quadruple frustrated murder and damage to government property.
Col. Tom Tuzon, chief of the CIDG Regional Field Unit 9, had apologized to Valle for the mistake, and admitted that the arrest brought “unnecessary anxiety” to her.
“On behalf of the PNP-CIDG, I want to extend my sincerest apologies for the negative experience that you had with our CIDG personnel from Pagadian City at Laguindingan Airport in the morning of June 9, 2019,” Tuzon said in a statement Monday.
The Commission on Human Rights said it will investigate the incident.
“The CHR Regions X and IX have dispatched a quick response team to investigate and closely monitor this case towards its just resolution,” CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia said. /gsg