Red-tagged Lumad leaders pushing back; mull charges vs vlogger
ESPERANZA, Agusan del Sur— Lumad leaders and local officials who were red-tagged are mulling charges against a vlogger who claims to lead a nationwide group of indigenous peoples.
Teddy Manpatilan, head of the tribal affairs unit at this town’s Mayor’s Office, told reporters that they are contemplating cyber libel complaints against vlogger Ike Gavelino, also known as Gavelino E. Rubio.
Manpatilan said the vlogger had been spreading a series of hard-hitting commentaries over Facebook against Mayor Deo Manpatilan Jr., and officials and tribal leaders of the villages of Piglawigan and Langag.
When reached through Messenger, the vlogger, who purports to be based in Quezon City, told this reporter his real name is Ike Rubio Gavileno and he supposedly belongs to the “Sugubwanon Hiligaynon” tribe.
But he has not answered questions about the veracity of his claims against the personalities who were the subjects of his stinging criticisms over social media.
The Facebook account Ike Gavileno was later deleted.
Manpatilan recalled that the vlogger lambasted the mayor for supposedly disregarding the concerns of the indigenous peoples in the town, maintaining a private army, alleged involvement in illegal drug trade and for being a supporter of the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
He also accused another leader, Piglawigan village chieftain Nilo Guillarte, of being an NPA supporter.
Milbert “Datu Kahusay” Agosto, a leader of the Wayoy clan in Piglawigan, said “Mr. Ike” came to them in 2020 to incite a protest to reclaim their ancestral lands. But Guillarte, who was also accused of grabbing and then selling the Wayoy clan’s lands, noted that there are already residents who owned farmlands covered with land titles before the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 became law.
“I am disgusted to watch him doing all the false tirades against the mayor and many other leaders,” Agosto said.
Contrary to the vlogger’s claims, Erwin Dumaguing, a former Army soldier, recalled that the current mayor’s father, former mayor Deo “Datu Mankombate Manpatilan Sr., was a staunch opponent of the communist rebels, working to make at least 44 Higaonon warriors regular soldiers to fight the NPA guerrillas in their communities.
Randy Manpatilan said their clan has a consistent record of advocating against NPA presence in their area, angering the rebels and leading to former mayor Lavi “Datu Mansaulog” Manpatilan being gunned down by communist hitmen while attending a wedding at a Catholic chapel in Butuan City in the 1980s.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.