Philippines: 2 Lumad leaders arrested, not missing
January 31, 2019, 8:59 am
PROGRESSIVE groups in Northern Mindanao have expressed alarm over the sudden disappearance of two leaders of Lumad and peasant organizations in Cagayan de Oro City last Monday, January 28, but police said the two were arrested on the strength of a supposed arrest warrant.
The families and colleagues of Lumad leader Datu Jomorito Goaynon, chairperson of Kalumbay Regional Lumad organization, and Ireneo Udarbe, chairperson of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in Northern Mindanao, failed to reach the two and declared them missing since Monday morning.
However, a police official in Northern Mindanao confirmed that the two were not missing but were arrested by virtue of an arrest warrant for attempted murder and frustrated murder, issued by a court in Cagayan de Oro.
Police said Goaynon and Udarbe, whom the police tagged as leaders of the New Peoples Army (NPA), were charged with four counts of attempted murder and frustrated murder.
They were arrested through a joint military and police operation.
“They are not missing. Udarbe and Goaynon were arrested at Barangay Patag by virtue of a court-issued arrest warrant according to our records,” PRO Northern Mindanao D
Director Timoteo Pacleb said.
Reports said Goaynon and Udarbe left their office in Barangay Bulua, past 10:00 a.m., Monday. Their last communication to a Kalumbay staff was to inform that they were stuck in traffic on the way to their meeting place from their office.
However, the two never got to their meeting place and none of their relatives and friends have seen or heard from them since then.
Calls to Goaynon were picked up but no one answered while Udarbe’s phone was still ringing but no one was picking up. The two can no longer be reached as of this writing.
The two were supposed to attend a meeting with Pig-uyonan, a member organization of Kalumbay, in Barangay Carmen, this city. Pig-uyonan was scheduled to have a dialogue with the members of the 65th Infantry Battalion, facilitated by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) last Monday.
Last January 22, Pig-uyonan together with Goaynon filed a complaint against the 65IB for harassment and forced surrender.
Goaynon has been complaining over a tarpaulin bearing his picture hanged in Talakag, Bukidnon which accused him of recruiting the lumad to the New Peoples Army (NPA).
Police claimed that firearms, fragmentation grenades and subversive documents were seized from their possession during the arrest.
PRO-Northern Mindanao spokesperson Superintendent Surki Serenas said the two will undergo inquest proceedings for illegal possession of guns and explosives. The two were detained at the jail facility of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
Human rights groups have argued that the charges made against the 2 lumad leaders are trumped up and aimed to target and intimidate the HRDs