Philippines: Campos Arrest is Blantant Political Harassment

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    “Jalandoni Campos’ arrest is blatant political harassment against progressive people’s organizations and partylists,”, states Dr. Naty Castro, secretary general of Karapatan Caraga.Campos is chairperson of the Manobo intermunicipal organization in Lianga, San Agustin and Marihatag, Surigao del Sur, Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) and council member of the Mindanao Lumad alliance, Kalumaran. He was arrested at 8 pm on March 23, 2013 as he was leaving the SURE FM radio station in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur. He was guest of radio anchorman Nick Acapulco and represented the Katribu Partylist during the one hour program prior to his arrest. He is presently detained at the Tandag City Police Station.

    Police elements in civilian clothes served a warrant of arrest for rebellion issued by Judge Alfredo Jalad of RTC Branch 28 in Tandag City during the arrest of Campos. The case was filed in connection with the Lianga PNP Station raid that was admittedly done by the NPA on April 28, 2011. 36 other civilians and members of MAPASU are also respondents in the case and named in the warrant.

    “Campos and the other MAPASU members were not informed of the complaint filed against them, despite the fact that Campos is well-known in Lianga as the leader of one of the biggest people’s organizations there.”, explained Castro. “The warrant of arrest was issued without allowing those accused to respond to the charges against them. Clearly there was no reasonable investigation to determine probable cause.”Campos and MAPASU leaders are active in the campaign against largescale mining in the Andap Valley complex in Surigao del Sur. They have led the organization to thwart combat and civil-military operations in the 22 MAPASU communities in the past, that has resulted in massive forcible evacuation in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011. They represented the Manobo tribe in negotiations with the operating units of the military to allow their safe and unconditional return during these incidents, thus these leaders, especially Campos, are well-known in Surigao del Sur.

    The case against Campos and MAPASU is among the 12 documented cases of trumped up charges filed against over 80 leaders and members of progressive organizations in the Caraga region. “We have engaged the local prosecutors’ office and the Department of Justice to address these cases since 2012 but the cases have persisted despite their reassurances to reinvestigate. Moreover, new cases have been filed with the same disregard to proper legal procedure,” continued Castro. “Campos’ arrest is illustrative of the inutile justice system and continuing impunity in the country.”, she concludes.

    Karapatan Caraga
    Reference: Dr. Naty Castro, Secretary General, 09071009904