Karapatan says ‘latest’ arrest of Salinas is ‘fake news’
Nothing but fake news.
This was how Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay called the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) supposed “arrest” of a ranking leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Ozamiz City.
The PNP Northern Mindanao Regional Office reported on Friday morning that authorities arrested CPP official Rommel Salinas on Thursday.
But the real Salinas, Palabay said, was arrested in May 2017 together with Iglesia Filipina Independiente Bishop Carlo Morales based on what militant groups said “trumped-up” charges. They are currently detained in the Ozamiz City jail.
She said Karapatan was still verifying the identity of the person allegedly captured in Ozamiz.
“We are very sure that this person is a victim of illegal arrest and was directly violated by this government, malamang, pustahan tayo [surely, I bet], illegal possession of firearms and explosives [cases] na naman yan,” Palabay said in a press conference in Quezon City.
“’Di ba supposedly you have arrested one Rommel Salinas already and is facing six trumped up charges together with Bishop Carlo Morales, so sino na naman itong kawawang ito (who is this another poor man)?”
The PNP later clarified that Salinas was brought to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology at Brgy. Tinago, Ozamiz City “for proper disposition.”
This was supposedly done after a regional trial court in Surigao City issued a warrant of arrest against Salinas for his 2013 case.
Palabay condemned the series of illegal arrests and detention used to harass activists and civilians, including what she said a “legal modus operandi” among prosecutors and courts to manage such “incredible” cases to flourish in courts.
“Yung frequency that this happens is really troubling because even with their [many] legal errors, they managed to pull [off] these illegal arrests kahit fantastic na yung mga stories (even though the story lines are fantastic),” she told INQUIRER.net in a separate interview.
According to Karapatan’s data, almost 98 percent of the cases of political prisoners it handles are charged with criminal offenses—70 percent of which are charged with illegal possession of firearms and/or explosives.
“I guess that is the easiest way for the police and military to plant evidence to justify the arrest of many people,” she added.
“Yes, we definitely think that the prosecutors and the courts are [involved in the ‘legal modus operandi’]. At least, there are few good men among them, but most are party dun sa continuing arrest and detention of these people,” Palabay said.
She explained that many of the charges filed against political prisoners have questionable testimonies and chain of custody of evidence. Warrants, on the other hand, are issued against individuals under aliases.
“Kaya talagang questionable yung mga arrest nila at yung mga (That is why their arrests are really questionable) and the prosecutors and courts are equally guilty because they issue resolutions and warrants,” she said.
She said that Karapatan would continue to expose the supposed scheme to the public as well as possible venues in the international arena, including the United Nations. /jpv
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