National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s attempt to arrest Rafael Baylosis, the group’s former vice-chairperson for political and external affairs, claiming that the operation was unjustified and based on trumped-up charges.
At 5:40 in the afternoon on January 1, around 10 to 12 CIDG personnel aboard three vehicles went to the Malolos, Bulacan residence of Lualhati Baylosis, wife of Rafael and member of KMU’s advisory board, to try to serve a bench warrant of arrest to Baylosis on the basis of a case that’s still undergoing hearings and in relation to 15 counts of murder allegedly committed more than 20 years ago.
The CIDG team, the leaders of which introduced themselves as Chief Inspector Niño Briones and Inspector Bernardo Suarez, left the area after being allowed to enter the residence and finding out that Baylosis was not there. Briones offered to leave a cellular phone number in case Lualhati decides to cooperate with the police, but the latter declined the offer.
Baylosis is charged with multiple murder – together with fellow National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultants Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, Satur Ocampo, Vicente Ladlad, Randall Echanis, among more than 60 others – in relation to an alleged mass grave discovered in Sitio Sapang Daco, Barangay Kaulisihan, Inopacan, Leyte in 2006.
“We condemn this attempt to arrest our former official and the harassment and possible surveillance of his family. We condemn the Aquino government for continuing its drive of hunting down, arresting and imprisoning activist leaders on the basis of trumped-up charges,” said Jerome Adonis, KMU secretary-general.
The labor leader blamed the Aquino government’s counter-insurgency plan Oplan Bayanihan for keeping the trumped-up charges alive, saying the government is using political repression against activists and others opposing the regime, instead of addressing the root causes of rebellion by continuing peace negotiations with the NDFP.
“Many activist leaders are being hunted down and imprisoned while their families are being subjected to surveillance and harassment because of false charges. These cases were filed by the government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo against its critics, are based on testimonies of false witnesses and highly-questionable evidence, and should be junked immediately,” Adonis added.
Baylosis and his co-accused had earlier asked the Supreme Court to stop the hearing on the case, stating that five of the alleged victims, whose skeletal remains were allegedly found in Monterico village, Baybay, Leyte on June 27, 2000 were the same alleged victims whose skeletal remains were allegedly found on August 26, 2006 in Inopacan, Leyte.
They also argued that the witnesses admitted that they are all under the custody of the military, that no substantial evidence was presented by the police and the military to prove that the bodies of the 15 alleged victims, or any one of them, were among the skeletal remains found in Inopacan, Leyte, and that the Hernandez political doctrine applies in the case.