CIDG denies involvement in disappearance of 2 Cordillera activists
MANILA, Philippines — The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) denied its alleged involvement in the disappearance of two activists who were former students of the University of the Philippines – Baguio, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Monday.
PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo sad the CIDG denied any knowledge in the disappearance of missing activists Dexter Capuyan, 56, and Jamil de Jesus, 27, after various indigenous groups staged a rally calling for their safe return in front of the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Monday.
“I got in touch with the director ng CIDG to ask them regarding these allegations, and they categorically denied any knowledge with respect to the disappearance nitong mga tao (of these people). In general, the PNP is not in the habit of abducting any persons, for that matter,” Fajardo said in a media briefing.
In a separate statement also issued on Monday, the Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ (TFIP) Rights expressed concern for Capuyan and de Jesus, who have been missing for over two weeks.
TFIP said the two activists disappeared on April 28 in Taytay, Rizal. A witness claimed that several men introduced themselves as operatives of the CIDG and took them into custody in two separate vehicles.
Aside from the Capuyan and de Jesus, TFIP said a similar case happened to Steve Tauli of the Cordillera People’s Alliance on August 2022, and two Mangyan advocates, Arnulfo Aumentado and Mary Joyce Lizada.
The group claimed that they were detained in a military camp.
Other groups, also present during the rally, likewise called for the safe return of Capuyan and de Jesus.
The TFIP and other groups also reiterated their former statements that the missing activists are not criminals or terrorists.
“Lem is a proud IP rights advocate, and his being so is the main reason he applied for a position in our office. He was a student leader in the UP Baguio during his college days. He frequently visited and worked in indigenous communities in the Cordillera Region before deciding to join TFIP,” the group said.
“Dexter, on the other hand, hails from a mix of Bontoc, Kankanaey, and Ibaloy ancestry. He was also a student and youth leader in Baguio City from the late 1980s to the early 90s. He also worked with indigenous communities in the Cordillera Region,” it added.
The groups urged the CIDG “to surface” Capuyan and de Jesus, adding that the police force should ensure that the two “are accorded their human rights and rights to due process through legal and judicial means.”