SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
Jalandoni Campos, chairman of the Manobo intermunicipal organization in Lianga, San Agustin and Marihatag, Surigao del Sur, Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (Mapasu) and council member of the Mindanao Lumad alliance, Kalumaran, was arrested at 8 p.m., March 23 by policemen in civilian clothes. He was charged with rebellion in connection with the April 28, 2011 raid of the New People’s Army (NPA) on the Philippine National Police (PNP) Lianga station. Thirty-six other civilians and members of Mapasu are also named respondents in the case.
In a statement, Dr. Naty Castro, secretary general of Karapatan-Caraga said the arrest of Campos is ‘blatant political harassment against progressive people’s organizations and partylists.”
For two days, more than 200 members of the Manobo tribe under the leadership of Mapasu, along with their supporters from other sectors, trooped to the Tandag City Jail to demand the release of Campos. The tribe leader was released last night to the custody of Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel, in the presence of Provincial Prosecutor Florito Cuartero and Tandag City Police Supt. Jeffrey Lawrence D. Mauricio.
Judge Alfredo Jalad of the Regional Trial Court Branch 28 in Tandag City signed the transfer of custody order as over 80 members of Mapasu from Lianga and Marihatag stood vigilant outside the court and the Lianga PNP Station.
“Jalandoni Campos’ transfer of custody could not have been accomplished so swiftly without the vigilance of Mapasu and their concerned allies from the different sectors,” Castro said. “The bombardment of support and public outcry hastened the normally snail-paced court process that expedited the signing of the court order.”
Castro said reliable sources from the PNP informed her that there were at least two attempts made by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU) to transfer the custody of Campos to them.
In a statement, Mapasu thanked all the individuals and groups who worked together and facilitated the transfer of custody of Jalandoni, particularly the Benedictine nuns, Missionary Sisters of Mary (MSM), priests of the Diocese of Tandag, officials of the local government of our province, members of other Lumad organizations.
“We are happy to reach this outcome and this is a new start of another search for truth as the arbitrary, fabricated and malicious cases filed against him and other members of our organization persist,” Mapasu said.
Campos and Mapasu leaders are active in the campaign against large-scale mining in the Andap Valley complex in Surigao del Sur. They have led the organization to thwart combat and civil-military operations in the 22 tribal communities that resulted in massive forcible evacuation in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011. Mapasu leaders represented the Manobo tribe in negotiations with the operating units of the military to allow their safe and unconditional return during these incidents.
“Clearly there was no reasonable investigation to determine probable cause,” Castro said,
Castro said Fiscal Cuartero has assured Campos’s supporters that he would ensure a reinvestigation of the case.
“We will continue to be vigilant until this case against Mr. Campos and other members of MAPASU is dismissed,” Castro said.
In a statement, Katribu said: “While Campos was awaiting action from the DOJ, he fearlessly campaigned for the Katribu Partylist, including guesting in radio and television programs, knowing that he had nothing to fear as he was innocent of wrongdoing against anyone or against the government, despite the fact that there was a case filed against him.”
For Castro, the arrest of Campos ‘is illustrative of the inutile justice system and continuing impunity in the country.”
For Mapasu, the struggle for the defense of our ancestral domain, environment, right to self-determination, and defense of human rights continue.