A trade union organizer and former government employee was abducted yesterday by believed to be elements of CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) of the National Capital Region.
Juan Alexander Reyes, 46, and his companion Francisco Garcia was taken by men in plainclothes yesterday afternoon in Brgy. San Antonio, Kapilian St. in Muñoz, Quezon City.
According to Garcia, who was dropped off from the van a few minutes from their abduction, they were on their way home from a meeting with members of SMQC when a white van with plate number ABB-9926 pulled up in front of them and five unidentified men got out. One of them pointed a gun at them while another handcuffed Reyes. The two were then forced into the vehicle before speeding off.
Garcia added that the men did not identify themselves as police or military personnel, nor did they present a warrant of arrest at the time of apprehension. Karapatan Metro Manila reported the incident as abduction.
Reyes’ family and co-workers immediately started calling police stations while some even made the rounds on Metro Manila offices. A police personnel who identified himself as Gilbert denied Reyes’ detention in Camp Crame in Quezon City. However, at dawn today, Reyes’ family confirmed that he was indeed at the PNP (Philippine National Police) main headquarters.
Reyes’ family members who spoke with him reported that Reyes will be slapped with made-up cases: arson in Agusan del Sur and illegal possession of firearms in Quezon City.
Threats and trumped-up charges
Karapatan Metro Manila said that Reyes’ arrest comes after several incidents of threat and harassment by elements of the police and the military when Reyes was still a member of COURAGE (Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees).
On April 2015, state forces sent letters to COURAGE members claiming their involvement in activities of the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) and the NPA (New People’s Army). ISAFP (Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines) staff went to their office looking for COURAGE staff.
The group filed a Writ of Amparo and Habeas Data to the CA (Court of Appeals) the same year, to which the Supreme Court responded positively. The high court directed the CA to schedule a hearing with the PNP and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines).
Crackdown against activists
President Duterte declared the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations late last year in an official proclamation that also eliminated peace talks between his government and the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines).
The DOJ (Department of Justice) filed a proscription petition February this year to name the CPP and NPA terrorist organizations. The petition included 600 individuals, including rights workers, indigenous and peasant leaders, and church people.
Reyes’ family appeals his immediate release but fears that he will be put in a similar situation with political prisoners Rafael Baylosis and Maoj Maga. Baylosis and Maga were arrested in separate occasions on February this year. National Democratic Front consultant Baylosis is detained in Camp Bagong Diwa; Maga, an organizer for Kilusang Mayo Uno, is in Camp Crame. Both are facing charges for crimes they claim they did not commit.
Karapatan Metro Manila expects that peace panels of the government and the NDFP will address the release of political prisoners should the interim peace talks push through this month.