Army, PNP arrest the wrong man; Gregorio Sebas is not Felimon Mendrez – group

HUMAN rights group KARAPATAN-Negros Oriental condemned the illegal arrest of Oligario Sebas by joint forces of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police in Tubod, Manjuyod, Negros Oriental on December 25, 2012.

Sebas, 65, was mistaken for an alleged top NPA cadre Felimon Mendrez, the subject of four arrest warrants for rebellion and carries a bounty P5.25 million pesos. He is now detained in the BJMP District Jail in Bayawan City.

The group said while Sebas in the middle of rest on Christmas Day, 302nd Brigade soldiers barged into the aging and sickly victim’s hut. The plainclothed military agents and firearm-wielding policemen produced a warrant of arrest for a certain Felimon Mendrez.

Jose Luis Blanco, Karapatan-Negros Oriental secretary general said, they also ransacked the household and seized the wife Gregoria’s mobile phone in an attempt to hold off any aid to the victims. The victim was then handcuffed and carted off first to the Manjuyod PNP, then to the Agan-an, Sibulan Headquarters of the PNP Negros Oriental Provincial Office and finally to Bayawan City, he said.

It seems that the Aquino government and the military are scrambling to show off their supposed ‘achievements’ in meeting their target of eliminating the CPP-NPA through their Oplan Bayanihan, which resulted to grave, arbitrary and spurious arrests and charges of activists and individuals whom they easily branded as communists. These arrests also show how mad they are in claiming their ‘Christmas presents’ through the bounties they have offered for the arrests of those in their list.

Karapatan also noted that with the recent arrests and detention, the number of political prisoners under the Aquino government continues to swell. The group documented 398 political prisoners as of November 30, 2012, at least 123 of them arrested under the Aquino administration and are still currently detained.

Aquino has not only remained callous in heeding the demands of the people in releasing political prisoners, he has also continued the policy and practice of heaping criminal offenses on activists and ordinary citizens whom his administration deems as ‘enemies of the state’, the group said.



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