AFP-PNP illegally arrests two civilians and a baby in Masbate

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Forces of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) illegally arrested two civilians and an infant last May in the province of Masbate. Karapatan-Masbate condemned this and demanded the immediate release of the victims and the dismissal of what it called fabricated cases against them.

On an unspecified date, state forces arrested Baby Arnejo and her infant in Barangay Madao, Uson. State forces accuse her to be a New People’s Army (NPA) member. Residents insist that Arnejo is a civilian and has long been living in the village.

“Worse, the military and police did not consider Arnejo’s baby, who was detained together with his mother. This is a clear violation of international humanitarian law,” Karapatan-Masbate said.

Due to the insistence of the villagers, the baby was placed in proper custody while his mother was still detained.

On May 18, state forces arrested Tinay Ontog in Barangay Maglambong, town of Monreal. Karapatan-Masbate said residents confirmed that Ontog is a civilian. She is a former Red fighter who has long been out of the NPA.

“Ontog’s arrest is proof of the worthless and deceitful scheme… of the AFP and PNP’s surrender campaign. The victim was still illegally arrested contrary to the military’s propaganda that anyone who allegedly turns to the government will be given security and a peaceful life or live again as a civilian,” the group said.

The group said more than 100 people were illegally arrested and detained by the military and police under the successive fascist Duterte and Marcos regimes. The AFP-PNP-CAFGU killed up to 116 civilians during those times. “Thousands were forced to surrender, threatened, harassed while hundreds of families were displaced from their land and livelihood,” Karapatan-Masbate added.

The group denounced the inaction of the officials of the Commission on Human Rights-Bicol amid widespread human rights violations. “Why are they silent? Are they being funded with the people’s money to serve the dictates or threats of the military?” the group said.

Amid injustice, Karapatan-Masbate asserted that only with the Masbatenyo masses’ united strength can true justice be achieved.

AB: AFP-PNP illegally arrests two civilians and a baby in Masbate