A farmer leader and party list nominee has been arrested in Nueva Vizcaya Friday night, a regional organization announced in an urgent alert.
Anakpawis Party 4th nominee and Cagayan Valley coordinator Isabelo Adviento was arrested while having dinner at fast food chain Jollibee’s Bayombong Branch at 8PM on April 8, Taripnong Cagayan Valley said.
The group did not identify who arrested Adviento.
A repeated victim of red-tagging, Adviento’s house was raided by the Philippine National Police in Baggao, Cagayan on December 2, 2020 in a failed attempt to arrest the peasant leader.
Adviento is also the chairperson of Danggayan iti Mannalon iti Cagayan Valley, the local chapter of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).
He was charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, the usual allegation against activists and critics of the Rodrigo Duterte government.
Adviento’s organizations said the police planted guns and explosives in his house in December 2020 and pointed out that no search or arrest warrant was presented during the raid.
The peasant leader was then leading a relief mission for survivors of Typhoon Ulysses elsewhere in the region at the time of the raid.
In a statement following the incident, Adviento asked the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Department of Justice to “investigate and junk the trumped-up charges filed against innocent farmers” like himself.
“We also ask the help of the CHR, church institutions, and local officials to assist those who are being persecuted,” he added.
The KMP blamed the government’s anti-insurgency group National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) for the “relentless persecution” of its regional leader.
“For several years now, Adviento has been subjected to non-stop intimidation by state forces. The harassment against him and other Cagayan Valley-based activists and peasant leaders intensified under the Duterte administration,” KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos said.
Adviento himself denied NTF-ELCAC’s allegations that he is a terrorist.
“I am not a terrorist because terrorists hurt, kill, oppress, threaten, steal from people, and are criminals. I have not done these things or broke the law,” he said in November 2021,
He also denied being a recruiter for the New People’s Army, saying the tarpaulins bearing his face and holding a gun were manipulated images.
The peasant leader said all he did was help farmers campaign to lower the interest, demand production assistance during calamities, and call for higher farm gate prices for their products. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)