Bukid­non peas­ant leader ‘ha­rassed’ by po­lice­men

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Front Page - By PJ Orias

A peas­ant leader in Bukid­non was al­legedly ha­rassed by eight po­lice of­fi­cers who tried to ar­rest him with­out an ar­rest war- rant Thursday morn­ing, April 12, at Musuan, Mara­mag town, Bukid­non.

Ire­neo Udarbe, chair­man of the Kilu­sang Mag­bubukid ng Pilip­inas-

North­ern Min­danao (KMP) iden­ti­fied the farmer as Jose Ben­e­mer­ito Jr., sec­re­tarygen­eral of a farm­ers group called KASAMABukid­non.

Udarbe said Ben­e­mer­ito was on his way to community ac­tiv­ity when 8 men in civil­ian clothes blocked him and in­vited him to the po­lice sta­tion.

“Gi-atan­gan siya sa walo ka tawo nga nag­paila nga nga po­lice. Nangutana si Mr. Ben­e­mir­ito sa ila kung aduna ba si­lay war­rant pero wala si­lay naipakita. They in­tro­duced them­selves as po­lice of­fi­cers. But Mr. Ben­e­mer­ito re­fused to go with them as the po­lice can­not present an ar­rest war­rant,” he said.

When the po­lice of­fi­cers failed to bring him that morn­ing, an­other two uni­formed po­lice­men came back, bring­ing with them a war­rant.

Udarbe said Ben­e­mer­ito was charged with mur­der and rob­bery, which he de­scribed as trumped up charges. Ben­e­mer­ito again re­fused to go with the po­lice point­ing out that his name in the war­rant is­sued was mis­spelled.

“Gikon­dena namo ang pag­pang­dakop sa mga lider sa mga mag-uuma, il­abina ang pu­gos nga sur­ren­der sa mga masa nga farm­ers. Nga­nung sila man ang aresto­hon nga kini sila nakig­bisog ra­man sa tin­uod nga re­porma sa yuta ug pa­dayon nga ex­pan­sion sa mga plan­ta­syon nga naka-dis­place kana­mong mga mag-uuma (We con­demn the ar­rest of farm­ers lead­ers, es­pe­cially the forced sur­ren­der of the masses. Why are they the tar­gets of arrests when they are only fight­ing for the gen­uine land re­form and against the ex­pan­sion of of plan­ta­tions which threat­ens their liveli­hood),” Udarbe said.

The Ru­ral Mis­sion­ar­ies of the Philip­pinesNorth­ern Min­danao is­sued an alert yes­ter­day say­ing Ben­e­mir­ito was able to evade ar­bi­trary ar­rest with mem­bers of the Buf­falo-Ta­ma­raw-Limus (BTL) who mobbed the ar­rest­ing mil­i­tary men.

The community also as­serted that Ben­e­mer­ito is not a crim­i­nal, but a peas­ant leader in­stru­men­tal in the strug­gle for land rights of the BTL farm­ers, the KMP adds.

Ac­cord­ing to KMP-NMR, Ben­e­mer­ito is among the 600 names in­cluded in the De­part­ment of Jus­tice (DOJ) pe­ti­tion for ter­ror­ist tag. The 600 names are mostly pro­gres­sives and crit­i­cal against the gov­ern­ment.

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