Ex-congressman Casilao says legal rights of arrested brother should be respected
MANILA, Philippines — Former Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao has insisted that his brother, who was reportedly arrested in Malaysia and is supposedly being deported to the Philippines, deserves access to his lawyers as part of his legal rights.
Casilao, in a statement on Monday revealed that his brother, Eric Jun Casilao, was arrested and detained at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. However, Eric’s lawyers informed the former lawmaker that no information about the deportation had been released.
“The lawyers were denied information regarding the details of his deportation to the Philippines. I now fear for his life and safety while he is in the custody of Philippine officials as they have refused to give his legal representatives relevant information regarding his current status,” Casilao said.
“I believe that Eric has the right to have access to his lawyers at every stage of his being in the custody of authorities, and especially in the duration of his deportation and travel from Malaysia to the Philippines; I am very worried of his safety,” he added.
Casilao called on law enforcement operatives from Malaysia and the Philippines to respect his brother’s rights.
“I, therefore, call on both the Malaysian and Philippine authorities to respect and ensure the protection of my brother’s rights under international and national human rights instruments, whatever the charges or accusations against him,” the former House of Representatives member said.
Information about Eric Casilao has been scarce, but it appears that he was accused of being a top official of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), the communist movement that has been waging a civil war in the countryside.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes said that Eric Casilao is not a terrorist, reiterating calls for his right to legal representation and services.
“Eric Casilao is no terrorist. I knew him when he was still a youth activist in Davao. Mabuting tao si Eric. (Eric is a good person) He has taken the more difficult road of struggle, but that doesn’t mean his rights can be violated. He deserves access to his lawyers, and to doctors of his choice,” Reyes said.
Eric Casilao is no terrorist. I knew him when he was still a youth activist in Davao. Mabuting tao si Eric. He has taken the more difficult road of struggle, but that doesn’t mean his rights can be violated. He deserves access to his lawyers, and to doctors of his choice. https://t.co/DFaGOCNhbq
— Renato Reyes, Jr. (@natoreyes) April 17, 2023
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) meanwhile noted that Eric Casilao’s body of work includes opposing huge mining companies in Mindanao, which supposedly led to him being falsely linked to terrorist organizations.
“We have known Eric Jun Casilao as a staunch peasant and indigenous peoples advocate. He is not a terrorist. He has worked alongside peasant and IP organizations in Mindanao in opposing large-scale destructive mining operations, expansion of plantations, and perennial landlessness,” KMP said.
“We demand PH authorities to respect his rights based on international humanitarian laws and afford him the due process he deserves,” he added.