Immediate release of 2 ‘abducted’ UP alumni sought

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Monday, August 11, 2014

MILITANT students called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday to immediately release two former students of the University of the Philippines (UP) who were reportedly charged with illegal possession of firearms.

In a rally outside the Department of Justice (DOJ), the League of Filipino Students (LFS) and other youth groups slammed the government for using alleged trumped-up charges to stifle dissent.

LFS said Gerald Salonga and Guiller Cadano were taken by soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Battalion last Saturday in Barangay RT Padilla in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.

The armed military men allegedly entered the house where Cadona and Salonga were lodged in and were forced to lie on the floor and then blindfolded.

Cadano was bundled inside a red van while Salonga was shoved inside a white pick-up.

The remaining group of captors rode another white pick-up, LFS said.

Salonga, 24, and Cadano, 22, were turned over by the military to the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and are currently detained at the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) of the PNP in Cabanatuan City.

"Geary and Gully were two among thousands of Filipino youth who are actively partaking in the struggle against an oppressive government. Their abduction testifies the horrors inflicted by the military on civilians under Aquino’s (national security program) Oplan Bayanihan," said LFS national spokesperson Charlotte Velasco.

Cadona and Salonga earned their psychology degree from the UP Diliman -Extension Program in Pampanga (UPDEPP).

Cadona is the regional chairperson of Kabataan partylist-Central Luzon while Salonga is an organizer of Anakbayan- Central Luzon, an affiliate of the militant party-list group.

"Abduction, illegal arrest and detention, then filing of trumped-up criminal charges referring to manipulated evidences –this has been the usual pattern of Aquino's Oplan Bayanihan. There hasn't been a letup of these military crimes the since bloody terror of Jovito Palparan," said Velasco, referring to the former military general who is on trial for the disappearance of two female UP students in June 2006.

Meanwhile, Kabataan Representative Terry Ridon said the attack against his allies may be connected with the group's lead role in the ongoing impeachment bid against President Benigno Aquino III.

"It may indeed be a form of retaliation on part of the Aquino administration," he said.

He vowed to hold the PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Department of Justice accountable for the illegal arrest and detention of Salonga, Cadano, and other political prisoners in the upcoming budget hearings for the said agencies.

"The government allots millions of taxpayers’ money for confidential and intelligence funds yet these were only used against innocent youth and other citizens," he said. (Sunnex)

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