Cops won’t say where ailing Gabriela leader is being held | Inquirer News

Cops won’t say where ailing Gabriela leader is being held

/ 05:04 AM September 10, 2022

Cops won’t say where ailing Gabriela leader is being held


SAN FRANCISCO, AGUSAN DEL SUR — Although it has refused to disclose where the ailing leader of women’s rights group Gabriela was being held, the Police Regional Office (PRO) in the Caraga region said her family was free to visit her.

Police Maj. Jennifer Ometer, public information officer of the Caraga PRO based in Butuan City, told the Inquirer that the operatives of the Regional Intelligence Division (RID 13) who have taken custody of Atheliana “Atel” Hijos have agreed to allow her family to visit her.


Ometer said Hijos’ family has the right to see her and attend to her health needs.


“Even in normal cases, the families of incarcerated persons has visitation rights,” she added.

‘Humanely treated’The RID 13, in a statement on Friday, also pointed out that Hijos was never hidden from anyone nor was her confinement undisclosed.

It said that they were taking due care of Hijos whom the police said is already 81 years old, not 76, based on their personal profiling of her.

“(The) 81-year-old Atheliana ‘Atel’ Hijos, chairperson of Gabriela Caraga was afforded well, given her every need, and fairly, justly and humanely treated … with the utmost observance of her rights guaranteed under the Constitution,” read the RID 13 statement.Hijos was arrested on Aug. 30 in Barangay Kinabjangan of Nasipit town, Agusan del Norte province, for her supposed involvement in the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of a member of the Civilian Active Auxiliary of the Philippine Army on Dec. 29, 2018, in Barangay Kolambugan of Sibagat town, Agusan del Sur province.

Human rights group Karapatan has described the charges as “a blatant lie” given Hijos’ physical condition. Prior to the arrest, Hijos had been bedridden due to a mild stroke, on top of her pulmonary tuberculosis and hypertension.

The police claimed that Hijos is the fourth ranking leader of the communist New People’s Army in the Caraga region, hence they are taking tight measures to secure her detention place.


The RID 13 further claimed that despite her age and condition, Hijos “remained active in the armed struggle,” hence she was listed as among the top priority targets for arrest.

With court’s permission

Asked why Hijos was not yet presented to the court that issued her arrest warrant even as nine days have already passed, Ometer said the RID 13 had a prior arrangement with the court that she be presented when she is already in a stable health condition.“Rest assured, the RID 13 had already asked permission from the court about the arrangement,” Ometer added.

The charges against Hijos are the same ones hurled against Dr. Natividad Castro, a regional leader of Karapatan.

Castro was released from the Agusan del Sur provincial jail after 42 days of detention after acting Presiding Judge Fernando Fudalan Jr. of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 7 in Bayugan City dismissed her case on March 25.

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But on June 16, RTC Branch 7 Executive Judge Ferdinand Villanueva ordered the rearrest of Castro, who was tagged by the military as a high-ranking communist guerrilla.

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TAGS: Activist, Gabriela, NPA, PNP‎

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