PNP-CIDG refuses visitation for detained peasant leader Joseph Canlas

Victim of unending injustice

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today said the PNP-CIDG Region 3 led by its regional director PBGen. Valeriano De Leon is not allowing family and relatives of detained peasant leader Joseph Canlas to visit him at Camp Olivas in San Fernando, Pampanga. Canlas was illegally arrested on March 30 after authorities planted on him fabricated evidence of guns and explosives.

According to Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) leader Lito Lumapaz, it has been five days since Canlas’ wife and children were able to see and talk to him.

Last week, the PNP-CIDG Region 3 required a COVID-19 negative swab test for visiting family members of Canlas. The immediate family complied but even after showing their negative results upon visiting this Easter Sunday, they were still barred entry to the Camp. Now, authorities are saying that Joseph Canlas will have to undergo a swab test before he is allowed any visitors.

Lumapaz said that on March 30, authorities supposedly brought Canlas to the Jose B. Lingad Regional Hospital for a swab test and mandatory medical check-up before he was transferred to Camp Olivas.  

“These are all alibis to have Canlas incomunicado or deprived of communication from his family and counsel,” according to KMP.  

The PNP-CIDG only allows the Canlas family to drop off food, face masks, medicine, and other needs of the detained farmer-leader at the Camp gate. The family expressed concern with the situation of Joseph Canlas.

The PNP-CIDG’s actions, according to KMP, violate the rights and visitation privileges of Canlas, as stated in international standards. “Canlas is not even a convict. He was falsely accused. The charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against him were fabricated and meant to stifle his political activities as a regional peasant leader in Central Luzon,” says Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP.

“As far as we know, the Bureau of Corrections did not suspend any visitation rights, what power does the PNP-CIDG Region 3 have to bar visit to Canlas? This is plain harassment and intimidation,” Ramos said.

KMP said the government must rescind the search warrants previously issued against activists, investigate the dangerous practice of courts issuing questionable warrants, and ensure the rights and security of the victims’ families and witnesses to the rights violations.

KMP chapters are continuing with their farm protests or Protestang Bukid to demand the release of Joseph Canlas and Workers Alliance in Region 3 leader Pol Viuya. ###

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