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Catamco to face criminal, admin complaints solon to file counter charges

 • 22:38 PM Mon Jul 27, 2015
Malu C. Manar

KIDAPAWAN CITY -Militant groups in Southern Mindanao will file criminal and administrative complaints against Cotabato 2nddistrict Representative Nancy Catamco, officers from the Davao City PNP and Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), for their alleged involvement in the violent attempt to move out from a Church compound in Davao City the more than 700 evacuees. Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan in Southern Mindanao Region, a human rights group based in Davao City, said they are set to file criminal complaints, which include serious physical injury, physical assault, coercion, grave threats, destruction of properties, malicious mischief, and violation of domicile, against Catamco Senior Inspector Ronald Lao, chief of the San Pedro Police Station Superintendent Marvin Pepino, deputy chief of the Davao City Police Office Major Jake Obligado, intelligence officer of the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command several staff from the National Commission on the Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Region 11 a certain Nestor Apas and 25 others, mostly from the PNP and AFP. Aside from criminal, administrative complaints like usurpation and abuse of authority would also be filed against Catamco and other government employees who were allegedly involved in the incident, Suazo said. For Suazo, it was Catamco that gave members of the Davao City Police Office orders last July 23 to ‘assault’ Haran compound, which they considered a ‘sanctuary’ of the lumads that evacuated from their places in Talaingod in Davao del Norte and San Fernando, Bukidnon after government troops harassed them in May. Suazo said Catamco and the policemen had no order from court to ‘evict’ the lumads from the Church’s compound. We asked if they had any papers or warrant to justify their impending action. They presented none. We pleaded for them to leave, because the evacuees are harassed by their presence. In return, they destroyed the gate of the evacuation camp. They struck with their truncheons the lumad leaders and members of support groups who stood their ground,” she stressed. Based on records of Karapatan-SMR, at least 17 people, mostly lumads, were injured during the violent ‘riot.’ Catamco, when asked of her comment, said that she will immediately file counter-charges against Karapatan-SMR and other support groups whom she considered the people behind the ‘miseries’ of hundreds of lumads now inside a ‘concentration camp.’ I don’t call the place at the UCCP Haran an evacuation camp.It is a concentration camp.There is no separate rest room for women and girls.The place is not conducive for learning for our children.Yet, these people who call themselves members of Karapatan or human rights group are telling us that they want to secure these people from military abuses?Who are abusing these people, anyway?” said the legislator. Catamco said she is preparing to file charges of illegal detention against Karapatan and other support groups, including representatives from militant party-list groups. Catamco, citing intelligence reports, said that these groups are using the lumads to gain funding support from Europe amounting to $1 million. She stressed the incidents at Haran compound and the alleged ‘money making business’ of some leftist non-government organizations and other militant groups would be the subject of a congressional inquiry, which she would propose as soon as Congress resumes its session this week.

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