By JOEY P. NACALABAN
They weren’t just arrested and put behind bars, they were also divested of their personal belongings.
This was revealed by Aldem Yañez, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) church worker and one of the 13 who was arrested in General Santos City last week.
Yañez said, arresting officers brought them to Gensan police station and put them inside a detention mini-cell.
All of them are now facing obstruction of justice. They were only released after posting bail bonds of P36 000 each.
“Apan sa dihang nakakuha nami og court order gitugutan na dayon mig pagawas. Ang problema wala na nabalik among mga personal nga gamit,” Yañez said.
Taken from them were laptops, mobile phones, bags containing their things, among others.
The Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) decried the worsening human rights abuses perpetrated against development workers, community leaders, and activists and sanctioned by martial law in Mindanao under the Duterte government.
Lawyer Beverly Ann Musni said, the illegal arrest of 13 human rights defenders, church volunteers, Lumad leaders, and seminar house staff now called the “Gensan 13” was the handiwork of the combined military, police, CIDG, and joint Task Force Gensan units foisting a void warrant of arrest.
Worse, Musni said, the warrant did not bear the signature of the issuing judge.
Bishop Antonio Ablon of the Visayas Mindanao Regional Office for Development said the state forces were carrying only two warrants of arrest for a certain Francis Madria and Maria Unabia.
Ablon said both names are unfamiliar to them. He said their group will stand by their knowledge that there was no criminal among them.
Among the Gensan 13 are Datu Jamoring Goaynon, Vennel Chenfoo, Teresita Naul, Ireneo Udarbe, Analiza Avenido, Roger Plana, Emelio Gabales, Kristine Cabardo, Byron Porras, Rosmarie Cantano, Delia Catubay, and Virgilio Sanama.
They are contemplating to file counter charges against the arresting officers.