Militant leaders seek SC help vs gov’t ‘harassment’
Members of various militant organizations on Thursday sought protection from the Supreme Court against harassment by the government.
Named respondents include President Benigno Aquino III, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Hernando Iriberri, Major General Virgilio Hernandez, Deputy Commander for Intelligence of the AFP, ISAFP Chief Brig. General Arnold M. Quiapo, Philippine Army, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ricardo Marquez and NCRPO Chief Joel Pagdilao.
Aside from protection, petitioners also urged the high court to order respondents to disclose and give them copies of information, statements, records, photographs, dossiers gathered about them and to destroy such files.
Petitioners Dr. Darby Santiago, chairperson of the Health Alliance for Democracy Inc. (HEAD); Imelda Gerali, nurse and administrative officer of Samahang Operasyong Sagip, Inc. (SOS) and member of HEAD both received threatening text messages accusing them of being doctors of the New People’s Army in Northern Luzon.
Some of the messages from the number 09394363140 include “Nawala ako ng umaga saan ka dumaan? Ah, tinataguan mo ako ha? Teka si Dr. busy na busy sa DOH. Kaya pala hindi dumaan sa inaabangan ng mga ka-tropa ko hehehe.”
(I got lost in the morning, where did you pass by? You hid from me, huh? You seem too busy with DOH, doctor. That’s why you didn’t pass by where my men were waiting for you.)
From the same number, on July 10, Gerali received this message “hello friend busy ka kahapon kaya hindi mo ako napansin. Si Doc Darby guapo kahapon kaso late. The lady doctor was there too. Hinatid nga kita pauwi napansin mo ako (Hello, friend. You seemed busy yesterday, you didn’t notice me. Doc Darby looked handsome yesterday but he was late. The lady doctor was there too. I walked you home, did you notice) ?…” Then, a follow up text saying “pssst…lingon naman dyan (hey, turn around)!”
Aside from the two, other petitioners include Rebecca Abelong, National Treasurer of Allied Workers Federation-KMU; Neil Ambion, media liaison officer of KMU; Renato Asa, secretary of KMU’s PIO; Loreto Victoriano, coordinator for Manila of KMU; Josephine Carlos Betana, chair of Caloocan City chapter of Migrante and Lovely Carbon and Jessica Ferrera of the National Union of Students of the Philippines and John Paul Lapid of Kabataan Partylist.
Abelong said a man who introduced himself as a member of Guardian went to the area where she lives and asked neighbors about her while Ambion said men who introduced themselves as members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) forced him to come with them to talk about security.
On the other hand, Asa said a man who introduced himself as member of the AFP gave him a mobile phone number and told him to accept the help they are offering or there may come a time when they won’t be able to help him.
The other respondents also said men were conducting surveillance around their house, work. Ferrera said the man who talked to her father even offered to help him get proper treatment if his daughter will help them.
“Taken together, the threats and surveillance activities portend a pattern: threats are made, often sent through text messages or anonymous correspondences alleging that the recipient are members of the NPA or the CPP and urging them to cooperate with the military in ambiguous terms,” the petition stated.
“Upon observing that the same pattern exists in the cases of petitioners herein, no other conclusion can be reached other than that their lives, security and liberty are under threat. It is also obvious that the modus operandi manifest in the cited incidents establishes the participation of state forces, especially that of the military and police establishments. The military and police establishments’ participation in these harassments is also an indication that these are carried out pursuant to the internal security policy of the Government, the “Oplan Bayanihan,” petitioners said. Tetch Torres-Tupas/IDL
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