Cops raid Manila office of Bayan; nab 3 activists for guns, explosive
MANILA, Philippines — Police raided on Tuesday the office of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Manila and arrested three activists for alleged possession of guns and an explosive, according to rights group Karapatan.
Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, acting director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), identified the three arrested suspects as Ram Carlo Bautista, Alma Moran, and Reina Mae Nasino. He said the police are currently confirming their backgrounds and the groups they are associated with.
An NCRPO report said the suspects were arrested during the serving of two search warrants at about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday along Flora corner Clemente Streets in Barangay 183 in Tondo. The raid was a joint effort of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Manila Police District.
Several firearms, ammunition, a grenade, several gadgets, a driver’s license with the name of a certain Felix Robin, and a Bureau of Internal Revenue identification card bearing the name of a certain Carlo Mar Benitez were allegedly confiscated from the suspects.
The three were brought to the CIDG office in Manila.
But according to Karapatan, the claim of the police that they found weapons from the suspects is “preposterous and a barefaced lie meant to justify these patently arbitrary arrests and to silence social justice workers and activists.”
Sinas said activists arrested for possession of firearms and explosives can always claim that the evidence were planted.
He doubted how an expensive rifle, one of the seized items, would be planted as evidence by the police.
“We have the search warrant, there is recovery,” he said.
“That is their alibi, then so be it. Anyway, our investigators will file the case, they can have it as their defense in court,” he added.
Sinas then added that anyone, including members of the media, can be served a search warrant if authorities receive a report that they have unlicensed weapons.
“Anybody naman, maski kayo kapag nabalitaan namin na may baril kayo [which is unlicensed], i-raid din namin kayo (Anybody, including you, can be raided, if we receive a report that you have [unlicensed] guns). Nobody is excused,” he told reporters covering the press briefing. /jpv
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