KMP: #StopTheAttacks against farmers!

Back to back arrests in Laguna and Bohol

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) denounces the illegal arrest of its local members in separate incidents in Laguna and Bohol today, June 25. “The Duterte regime seems eager to amass more and more progressives behind bars. We condemn this most recent affront to legitimate farmer organizations done in compliance with the unconstitutional Anti-Terror Law,” KMP National Chairperson Danilo Ramos says.

Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA TK) provincial coordinators Dana Marie Marcellana and partner Christian Relao were arrested by the PNP Region 4A and elements of the AFP from inside their home in Brgy. San Diego, San Pablo, Laguna at around 1 am today.

Marcellana is also the daughter of former Karapatan Southern Tagalog secretary-general Eden Marcellana, and former KASAMA TK spokesperson Orly Marcellana. Eden was a victim of extrajudicial killing under the Gloria Arroyo administration.

At around the same time of the Laguna arrests, a composite team of the CIDG, PNP, and AFP arrested Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa San Jose (NAMASAJO) counselor and United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) pastor Nathaniel Vallente, and Central Visayas Farmers Development Center program coordinator Carmilo Tabada from their homes in Trinidad and Mabini, Bohol.

Marcellana and Relao were reportedly charged with kidnapping, murder, illegal possession of firearms, and rebellion. While Vallente and Tabada were reported to be charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives. Both arrests and charges hinged on planted evidence. “Matagal nang nabisto itong modus ng reyd-tanim-aresto, wala nang naniniwala dito kundi sila-silang mga pasista,” Ramos declares. He added that the ATL merely serves to legitimize these illegal arrests, urging the Supreme Court to act with urgency against the said legislation.

The peasant leader pointed out that the arrests occurred a few days before the president’s last full year in office, “Duterte seems full-fledged in leaving a legacy of sheer disrespect to human rights, to the rule of law, and due process.” 

According to Karapatan, there have been 451 political prisoners arrested under the Duterte administration by the end of last year, a majority of these are farmers. This already exceeds the 304 political prisoners arrested under the whole term of former President Noynoy Aquino, who died yesterday.

Ramos also notes the deaths of farmer political prisoners Jesus Alegre last June 13 and KMP National Vice Chairperson Joseph Canlas last May 11, both under government custody. 

KMP demands the immediate release of all four farmer leaders arrested and the dropping of the trumped-up charges filed against them. #

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