Crackdown on leftists feared after arrest of Bacolod activist
CEBU CITY — Leaders of militant groups in Negros Occidental raised fears of a government crackdown on communist members after the arrest of the administrative officer of the Center for People’s Resources and Services in Bacolod City Tuesday night.
Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) collared Rogina Navarro Quilop, 49, who was linked to the murder of an Army lieutenant in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, seven years ago.
She was arrested past 6 p.m. on Tuesday in front of a supermarket in Barangay 10, Bacolod city.
She was driving home together with her husband, just a few meters away from their office, when they were flagged down by members of the CIDG.
Chief Supt. Renato Gumban, Negros Island Region police director, said they were merely serving the arrest warrant on Quilop, who was believed to be the secretary of the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front finance bureau in Negros.
Judge Renato Muñez of the Regional Trial Court in Cadiz City issued the warrant for murder in connection with the death of 1Lt. Archie Polenzo in March 2010 in Cadiz.
But in the warrant, Quilop was identified as Rowena Quilop Navarro.
Army Capt. Eduardo Precioso, 303rd Infantry Brigade Civil Military Operations head, said his men supported the CIDG in serving the arrest warrant to Quilop, now under the custody of the CIDG-Negros Island Region.
Precioso said Quilop was arrested in 2010 for arson but was released on bail.
Another arrest warrant for murder was also issued against her in 2011.
Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon and Clarizza Singzon, Gabriela Negros chairperson, slammed the arrest of Quilop whom they claimed was a development worker.
Tuayon described Quilop’s arrest as another form of harassment, and claimed that several other leaders of progressive groups in Negros were also slapped with similar trumped-up charges.
Tuayon, speaking for her group, urged President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider the termination of the peace talks with the CPP-NDF.
“Peace cannot be achieved through an all-out war. It only leads to widespread human rights violations,” he said.
Quilop is the administrative officer of the Center for People’s Resources and Services, a Negros based NGO delivering relief and services, according to Singzon.
Quilop was also wrongly charged of arson and detained, but later on freed when her case was dismissed in court, Singzon added.
She expressed fear that Quilop’s arrest has been part of the continuing harassment of development workers and progressive leaders of people’s organizations.
“With the declaration of Duterte’s all out war and the cancellation of the JASIG, arbitrary arrests and human rights violations will escalate. We call on the resumption of the peace talks and respect the previously signed agreement,” Singson said. SFM
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