By SIMON “Ka Filiw” NAOGSAN
Spokesperson, Cordillera People’s Democratic Front
The Cordillera People’s Democratic Front vehemently denounces the illegal arrest and detention of Grayson Naogsan, the eldest son of the CPDF spokesperson.
Clearly a sign of the desperation and failure of the US-Aquino regime’s Oplan Bayanihan, the arbitrary arrest of Grayson shows that the military now targets unarmed civilians who are relatives of known revolutionaries.
Grayson was arrested while enroute to his hometown to pay last respects to his grandfather. The elder Pablo Naogsan died last month in Butigue, Paracelis in Mountain Province. Earlier during the wake Lt. Col. Donald Hongitan of the 54th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army (IB-PA) declared that “I will break protocols, we will not arrest manong Simon and his son if they come home to pay their last respects to their father and grandfather respectively …”
It is evident that the military official’s word, as always, has no weight and is a clear case of double-talk.
Grayson’s constitutional rights were violated when he was illegally detained, blindfolded and held incommunicado before he was located in Ifugao. His arrest was made on the afternoon of 5 November, and Grayson was only located by members of the family on the afternoon of 8 November in the Ifugao Provincial Jail.
The person named in the warrant of arrest and issued by a judge in Bontoc, Mountain Province, is that of a different person and not him. He was subjected to interrogation without the presence of a lawyer of his choice.
Any pretension to adherence to humanitarian considerations in the likes of allowing relatives to attend to righteous rituals of a dead member of a family is put in derision by the arrest. Even during the interment of the deceased, two truckloads of military troops in full battle-gear accompanied Lt. Col. Hongitan, who seized a personal statement by the CPDF spokesman read to the family.
The military’s lip-service to human rights and International Humanitarian Law is evidently negated in this instance. Trumped-up charges were hastily filed in different courts, evidently to arbitrarily prolong Grayson’s detention, a tactic employed during the Marcos dictatorship and still carried on until now.
At the same time, the sudden imposition and increase in Grayson’s bounty from P500,000 to P700,000 to P3.2 million in so short a time is revealing. Clearly the arrest was among the reward-hunting activities timed to quickly thicken the wallets of retiring generals and their cohorts.
In so short a time the pretensions of the US-Aquino regime of projecting itself as the opposite of the previous dreaded Arroyo regime’s handling of military abuses has been shattered.
For instance in Ifugao, a secret hit-list by the 86th IBPA arbitrarily identifying 28 persons including social workers has been exposed.
Furthermore, in the Ilocos-Cordillera region, the military has continued to function as an investment defense force for the renewed economic aggression and plunder of ancestral lands. Military detachments are set up and military operations target those areas where large scale mining, geothermal energy projects and hydropower dams are to be set up and where local opposition are strong.
Recently, it has been reported that peasants are illegally accosted and tortured by the 81st IBPA in Ilocos Sur on the flimsiest of reason that they are suspected of being New People’s Army supporters. Grayson and other individuals are among the latest victims of fascist atrocities, arbitrariness and impunity of the US-Aquino regime and its notorious security forces in intensifying the militarization of the hinterlands and countryside.