NDFP-Rizal condemns the illegal arrest and detention of Teacher Lanie Latuga and five (5) other civilians and demands for their immediate release!

Arman “Ka. Arms” Guerrero
November 9, 2012

The NDFP-Rizal vehemently condemns the illegal arrest of Mrs. Lanie Latuga, a teacher of Dumagat School Children and five other civilians, most  of them women, by combined elements of 16th IB-PA and 59th IB-PA.  They were illegally arrested after the encounter between members of NAAC-NPA-Rizal and members of combined government soldiers belonging to the “Butcher” 16th IB-PA and 59th IB-PA that resulted to the killing of the 2 government soldiers and wounding of 4 others last November 7, 2012 in Sitio Uron, Puray, Rodriguez, Rizal. Their only crime is that they were near the site where the encounter happened and were eventually accused by the government soldiers that they are NPA Amazons or NPA supporters. Up to  now, Mrs. Latuga ang her companions are being held  incommunicado in an undisclosed military safe house after they were fetched by a Huey helicopter. They are being held against their will, interrogated without the benefit of counsel of their choice and being forced to admit that they are  NPA members.

The Philippine Army-AFP soldiers once again display their contempt for human rights. While their commanding officer, General Bautista proclaims in media that the Philippine Army  respect human rights, their members in the field like the “Butcher” 16th IB-PA  is doing the exact opposite because their continuous violation of human rights is officially sanctioned by their officers.   To compensate for their battlefield losses, they are turning their ire on the civilians. They are illegally arresting and detaining civilians and presenting them as NPA members.

The illegal arrest of six civilians including teacher Lanie Latuga is a cowardly act and a clear violation of human rights and international war protocols which mandates that civilians should be not be treated as combatants with all their rights be respected. Luckily for Mrs. Letuga and five others, they did not suffer the fate of the Bilaan tribe members Judy Capeon and children who were killed instantly by government soldiers in Mindanao. But worst, they will suffer the fate of Jonas Burgos and others who were abducted by government agents but eventually killed when he did not cooperate with them in the government efforts to link him to the NPA and make him stop as defender of people;s rights. They could also suffer the fate of Mr. Rolly Panesa who was suspected as  Benjamin Mendoza and accused as a leading member of Communist Party of the Philippines in Southern Tagalong, tortured and being detained indefinitely with fabricated charges. The families of Mrs. Letuga and others are afraid that those illegally arrested will just add to the growing statistics  of extra-judicial killings under the US-Aquino Regime

Until now, the Philippine Army is enforcing news blackout about the encounter. They are still sanitizing their soon to be released report to the press. When they do, we are very sure that they will announce to the press that they defeated the NPA members with no casualties on their side and with only the NPA suffering casualties as evident on the bloodied withdrawal route and that they arrested 6 NPA-Rizal members though they know from the very start that the people they arrested are all civilians.

To the members of the press, we urged you to seek the truth from facts. Don’t  rely on the military propaganda. Go to the lace where the incident happened and ask directly the people without the military around them. We are sure that the people in the community will tell you the truth when no military personnel is around to threaten them.

To the Aquino Government, we demand for the immediate release of Mrs. Letuga and the five other civilians illegally arrested and being held incommunicado. Civilians must not be treated as combatants and their rights must be respected at all times.