Arrest of IP leader hit

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

A TRIBAL group based in Mindanao hit the Aquino administration on Friday for the arrest on Friday of a Manobo tribal leader, who is facing three counts of frustrated murder, in Surigao City.

Indigenous People's (IP) alliance Kalumaran said Genasque Enriquez was about to leave after a press conference on their campaign against pork barrel, when members of the Surigao City Police Office, Army's 30th Infantry Division, and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) arrived to arrest him.

Enriquez is a member of the Kalumaran executive committee and was a second nominee for the Katribu Party-list in 2013 elections. He is also the Kahiusahan sa mga Lumadnong Organisasyon secretary-general in Caraga Region.


Dulphing Ogan, secretary general of the Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad Mindanao, in his statement emailed to Sun.Star Davao on Saturday, said the arrest of the tribal leader is "a smack of made up criminal charges from the government that wants to silence an ally of the anti-mining and anti-Oplan Bayanihan critic."

"The Army's 4th Infantry Division chief Brigadier General Ricardo Visaya desperately wants to see Enriquez behind bars. Earlier false charges filed against him before these recent charges have been dismissed due to lack of evidence," Ogan said.

Ogan said the accused could have been informed of the accusation so that he can have completely rebut and exposed them as lies before it was resolved by the government prosecutor. But the accused have no idea on the matter, he added.

"This government has no regard for due process and that the rule of law and the stealth it employed only emphasizes the falsity of the charges. The slapping of false criminal charges against indigenous leaders is consistent with the design of the government’s Oplan Bayanihan," Ogan said.

Although the accused was released Saturday on bail, Ogan said their group along with other human rights advocates will continue to demand the government to drop the charges filed against Enriquez, who is also a victim of intimidation and harassment.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 24, 2014.

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