House Resolution 2534 Urging for the Immediate Release of 12 Peasants and Activists Arrested in Negros Oriental as result of Oplan Sauron, by Makabayan lawmakers

Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City, Metro Manila

SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS
Third Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 2534

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INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES
ARIEL B. CASILAO
CARLOS ISAGANI T. ZARATE, EMMI A. DE JESUS, ANTONIO L. TINIO,
ARLENE D. BROSAS, FRANCE L. CASTRO, SARAH JANE I. ELAGO

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RESOLUTION URGING
FOR THE IMMEDIATE AND UNCONDITIONAL RELEASES OF PEASANT ACTIVISTS AND RESIDENTS OF NEGROS ORIENTAL, INCLUDING NESTOR KADUSALE, PEASANT LEADER OF KAPUNONGAN ALANG SA UGMA SA GAGMAY’NG MAG-UUMA SA ORIENTAL NEGROS (KAUGMAON) AND AZUCENA GARUBAT, A PEASANT WOMAN ACTIVIST OF NAGHIUSANG MAG-UUMA SA PANUBIGAN (NAMAPA) AND ALSO THE ANAKPAWIS PARTY-LIST CANLAON CITY CHAPTER COORDINATOR, WHOSE ARRESTS COINCIDED WITH THE MASS KILLING OF FOURTEEN PEASANTS IN CANLAON CITY, MANJUYOD AND SANTA CATALINA TOWNS, AS RESULT BY THE JOINT POLICE AND MILITARY OPERATIONS OPLAN SAURON 2PT0

WHEREAS, on March 30, 2019, elements of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines carried out Oplan Sauron 2pt0, that resulted to the mass killing of fourteen peasants and arrests of at least twelve peasant activists and residents of various cities and towns. Among the arrested were Nestor Kadusale, a peasant leader of Kapunongan Alang sa Ugma sa Gagmay’ng Mag-uuma sa Oriental Negros (KAUGMAON) and Azucena Garubat, a peasant woman activist of Naghiusang Mag-uuma sa Panubigan (NAMAPA) who is also the Anakpawis Party-list Canlaon City Chapter Coordinator;

WHEREAS, Oplan Sauron 2ptO is an internal security operation plan against personalities connected to the New People’s Army (NPA) in the first congressional district of Negros Oriental and a follow-up to the December 27 to 29 operations dubbed as “Oplan Sauron” that resulted the mass killing of six victims, including activists;

WHEREAS, it was carried out in three cities and six towns of the province, namely Canlaon City, Guihulngan City, Tanjay City, Ayungon, Mabinay, Manjuyod, Siaton, Santa Catalina and Vallehermoso;

WHEREAS, according to human rights group Karapatan – Negros, Nestor Kadusale, 58-year-old peasant leader and Chairperson of a local peasant organization affiliated with KAUGMAON, the chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas for Negros Oriental, was arrested at around 8am, March 30, 2019, at his house and was arrested. He is being charged with illegal possession of firearms and is presently detained at the Manjuyod PNP station;

WHEREAS, Azucena Garubat, a 57-year-old peasant woman who is a member of NAMAPA and is also the Coordinator for the Anakpawis Party-list Canlaon City Chapter, was arrested at around 6am, on March 30, 2019, for illegal possession of firearms and is currently detained at the Canlaon City PNP station.

WHEREAS, Garubat’s arrest was plagued by irregularities as revealed by the following circumstances, as attested by her husband, Edgar Garubat:

  • at around 3am, March 30, 2019, armed men knocked on their door and introduced themselves as officers of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and will be searching their house for a .45 caliber firearm;
  • they were driven out of their house, and cordoned by elements of the PNP – Regional Mobile Group (PNP – RMG) and were threatened that they would be killed if they resisted, while some entered their house without warrant;
  • about 10 minutes later, those who entered their house walked out;
  • at around 6am, five officers of the CIDG arrived with a search warrant, accompanied by a barangay official, and entered their house;
  • this time around, they allegedly found something like two ammunition for a grenade launcher inside the victim’s small bag;
  • during this incident, the couple decided to keep quiet as they fear for their lives;
  • she was accosted and brought to the police station and was charged with illegal possession of firearms;

WHEREAS, various groups such as the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura and National Federation of Sugar Workers, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women, condemned the joint police and military operations, and branded it as state terrorism. They demanded justice for the victims of peasant mass killing, and immediate and unconditional releases of those arrested due to trumped up charges;

WHEREAS, they asserted that Oplan Sauron 2pt0 and the Synchronized Enhanced Managing Police Operation (SEMPO), as local implementation of Memorandum Circular No. 32 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte, that targets activists in Samar, Negros island and Bicol region, are authoritarian and undemocratic, as it is designed to repress government critics, in total infringement of the constitutional rights of the people to right to due process, rule of law, freedom of expression and speech, peaceful assembly and self-organization;

WHEREAS, as urgent measure, to thwart the total reign of state terrorism in Negros Oriental, and restoration of democratic ways of life of the people, the immediate and unconditional releases of those arrested during the execution of Oplan Sauron 2pt0 is being urged;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, for the House of Representatives to urge for the immediate and unconditional releases of peasant activists and residents of Negros Oriental, including Nestor Kadusale, peasant leader of KAUGMAON, and Azucena Garubat, member of NAMAPA and also the Anakpawis Party-list Canlaon City Chapter Coordinator, whose arrest coincided with the mass killing of 14 peasants in Canlaon City, Manjuyod and Santa Catalina towns, as result by the joint police and military operations Oplan Sauron 2pt0.

Adopted,

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