Women ‘forced to admit as rebels’ – victims
Police in Davao Oriental has released two women, including one who is pregnant, on humanitarian grounds, even after they reportedly confessed to being members of the New People’s Army, said an Army brigade commander who said an Army unit has jointly conducted the checkpoint that arrested the women.
The women belied the allegation, and insisted that they were forced to confess they were guerrillas.
Col. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., commander of the Army’s 701st Brigade, said the Mati City Police Station released Angelita Salientes, 20, and three months pregnant, and Lovely Jean Madinajon, 19, “in adherence and respect to International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights and Rule of Law” after the police found that Salientes was pregnant.
The two were released Tuesday after their arrest a day earlier .
Madrigal said the two women were arrested around 11:00 pm Monday in a joint police and Army checkpoint in the public market of Manay, Davao Oriental.
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Madrigal said the checkpoint “stopped the first of the reported motorcycles and invited the passengers, later identified as Angelita Salientes Miguel and Lovely Jane Madejanon Boyles, for questioning.”
“Apart from the prior alarm given to the PNP regarding the motorcycles, the invitation for questioning was also prompted by the action of one of the passengers of the motorcycle, who quickly transferred to the trailing motorcycle when they were signaled to stop. The other motorcycle fled, defying the authorities signaling them to a halt,” he said.
The two were taken to Manay Police Station for verification of their identity and police claimed the women “initially declared their names as Ana Gomez Duping and Irish Gomez Duping” who are just visiting their relatives in Caraga “but were not able to give the names and exact address of te said relatives, arousing suspicion and prompting the Manay PNP to refer the subjects to Caraga Police Station.”
“Upon arrival at the Mati City Police Station, the two subjects were immediately given medical check-up by a physician from Mati City Health Center and Davao Oriental Provincial Health Office, especially so upon hearing that alias Lyka claims to suspect herself to be 3 months pregnant, based on the delay on her menstrual cycle. After the dialogue, subjects were properly released and turned -over to the members of [the human rights group, Karapatan,” Madrigal said.
But Madenajon belied Madrigal’s statements.
In a phone interview with Davao Today, Madenajon said that they were “coerced and harassed by their captors” and were “forced to admit that they are NPA members” after being promised that they will be immediately released by the soldiers.
“That is not true. They were threatening us with their long firearms. They forced us to admit that we are NPA members,” Madenajon said.
“Our only problem that time when they arrested us was that our driver is driving without a license,” she said.
Madenajon said that they were telling their captors their real names but “they refused to believe us and they were giving us other names”.
She said that she even insisted the police to accompany them in their home in Mabini, Comval to prove that she is a resident there.
Human rights group Karapatan, who assisted the two, said that they plan to file a case against the 701st Infantry Battalion, Manay Police and 67th Infantry Battalion for charges of illegal arrest and illegal detention of the two before the Commission on Human Rights and to a regular court.