A human rights lawyer said the couple reported arrested by the Philippine National Police in Balagtas, Bulacan last Saturday were actually abducted and slapped with trumped-up charges of illegal possession of explosives.
Atty. Kristina Conti said that Rowena and Oliver Rosales were simple former officials and organizers of the Confederation for the Unite, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) and were not members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
“Absolute rubbish to call them NPA members. They are civilians, activists if you may, working in the cities and suburbs for change. Whatever charges alleging violence on their part will fail, as they already have against others,” Conti said on her Facebook account.
“Abductions like this are followed by trumped up charges. We’ve seen this many times before. Stop the ludicrous charges!” she added.
According to Conti, the Rosales couple were on their way home on board a tricycle from selling their wares at the Balagtas Public Market when abducted by five men who did not identify themselves as police and military personnel.
The couple were reportedly blindfolded and handcuffed before being dragged to a car.
It was only when they were taken to Camp Crame in Quezon City that the victims were informed of a warrant of arrest against them.
Their family only learned the couple was taken to Camp Crame when they inquired with the Balagtas Police that informed them it was the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group that were looking for the couple.
The couple were taken to Bulacan Monday morning to face inquest proceedings, Conti told Kodao.
Conti said that couple are being charged with illegal possession of explosives.
“There was instant picture-taking of explosives yesterday [at Camp Crame],” Conti said.
Rowena is also charged with arson in Agusan, the lawyer added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)