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Colmenares supporters cry foul over military ‘harassment’

By JOEY NACALABAN,
Correspondent

A GROUP of activists supporting the senatorial bid of former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares yesterday cried foul over what they called as another attempt by the military to harass them on Wednesday night.

Francisco Pagayaman, leader of the group Kadamay here, said some 20 soldiers in full battle gear came and tried to enter an office that was turned into Colmenares’s campaign headquarters here in Camaman-an.

The soldiers were looking for a man named Albert, an alleged member of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“Human sila nangutana sa amo kung naa bay Albert sa sulod, akong giingan nga wala apan gusto gyud sila mosulod,” said Pagayaman, adding that his group asked soldiers to show a search warrant first.

Pagayaman said the soldiers were led by an officer identified only as Capt. Sedaya, said to be based in Mampayag, Manolo Fortich town in Bukidnon.

He said his group, a supporter of the Makabayan bloc in the Lower House, had just come from the Cogon area to distribute campaign materials of Colmenares, a prominent human rights lawyer and activist.

Pagayaman said the soldiers were in a 6×6 Army truck that tailed them from Cogon to their office in San Miguel, Camaman-an.

Fr. Rolando Abejo, spokesperson of the Movement Against Tyranny in northern Mindanao, said what the soldiers did was similar to the Jan. 30 raid on the office of the Misamis Oriental Farmers Association (Mofa). Four Mofa members, accused of being communist rebels, were arrested and charged in court.

“They are waiting to be tried for trumped up charges and based on planted evidence,” said Abejo, adding that the Camaman-an incident was an attempt to demonize Bayan Muna and its allied organizations.

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