Detained activist says she was deprived of sleep, food for up to 30 hours
LUCENA CITY—Youth activist and human rights worker Alexandrea Pacalda denied confessing to be a New People’s Army member and surrendering to the military, refuting an earlier statement made by the Army.
“I really did not surrender,” Pacalda said in a short video message sent to Inquirer by her lawyer, Maria Sol Taule. “It’s only the Armed Forces of the Philippines that is saying I surrendered. Those from the Armed Forces are the ones saying I’m an NPA who surrendered.”
“Everything I signed in the affidavit of voluntary surrender was against my will because I was not in the right state of mind because of what they did to me since Sept. 14 when I was arrested,” she said.
Taule also sent a photo of a handwritten statement which the lawyer claimed was that of Pacalda.
The statement said the writer was forced and did not volunteer to sign in surrender.
Pacalda said she was made to sign thrice an affidavit of voluntary surrender while she was not in the right state of mind. “I was deprived of sleep and food for 24 to 30 hours,” she said.
The statement was signed by Pacalda on Sept. 17 with the numbers “1535” in the space for date. Taule, in a private message, said 1535 meant 3:35 p.m. in military time.
On Wednesday, the military released Pacalda’s sworn affidavit where she admitted being a member of the NPA and she was surrendering because she wanted to “live a normal life.”
The affidavit was executed on Sept. 17 and notarized by lawyer Meyrick Andrew Oseña in the town of Lopez, Quezon province.
The affidavit said Pacalda confessed to being an NPA member “freely and voluntarily without being forced, threatened, harassed, coerced, and/or promised of (sic) any form of reward.”
In the affidavit, Pacalda said she turned herself in to soldiers from the 85th Infantry Battalion and policemen in General Luna on Sept. 15. She also surrendered a revolver with six bullets.
The human rights group Karapatan and other leftist groups have been demanding the immediate release of Pacalda.
The group claimed that Pacalda, a former campus journalist, was being held against her will and without any charge.
Karapatan also identified Pacalda as an active member of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines and Gabriela Youth. Delfin T. Mallari Jr./TSB
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