Group says evidence on arrested NDFP officer was ‘planted’, charges ‘fabricated’
MANILA, Philippines – A group has claimed that the murder charges and the evidence gathered against National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) officer Antonia Setias Dizon were “fabricated” and “planted” on her by state forces.
According to a statement from the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE), a union of government employees of which Dizon is part of, this ‘desperate’ measure is still part of the government’s crackdown on labor unions.
“COURAGE calls on the immediate release of Dizon, as we believe this is a direct attack not just to her but to whole essence of unionism. As we all know, the state has been aggressive in witch-hunting its critics primarily in the government sector,” COURAGE said on Tuesday.
Dizon, who was wanted for murder was arrested by the Laguna police on Tuesday in Barangay Rosario, San Pedro City.
The arrest order was issued by Acting Executive Judge Lou Nueva of the Bayugan City Regional Trial Court Branch 7 in Agusan Del Sur.
Police officers also served search warrants issued by Executive Judge Cynthia Mariño-Ricablanca of the Santa Cruz Regional Trial Court in Laguna.
During the search, police said a .38 caliber pistol, two cellphones, and various documents were seized. The documents police said, linked Dizon to the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
However, COURAGE noted that this is not the first time that Dizon and other members have been harassed by the police and the military.
“Many of our leaders who are government workers, have been receiving threats and intimidation, and even given trumped-up charges as well as suspension from their work only because of their assertion of their rights for a national minimum wage and ending contractualization,” the group said.
“Way back in 2015 Dizon had already experienced military harassment, wherein she had to spend the night and take refuge in the office of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in Ortigas, Mandaluyong City, because she may get abducted, or worse killed by agents surrounding the building,” they recalled.
Dizon, NDFP’s National Organizing Department, is one of the several left-leaning leaders accused facing murder charges in relation to their supposed involvement with the NPA. Just in August 2018, a warrant of arrest for murder was issued against former Makabayan lawmakers, who were then forced to go into hiding.
Recently, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo supported moves to revive Republic Act No. 1700 or the Anti Subversion Act.
President Rodrigo Duterte also canceled the ceasefire agreement with the NPA.
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