Some members of now called “Human Rights Day 7,” the seven activists who were arrested on International Human Rights Day claimed the police planted the firearms and explosives recovered from their houses.
The activists said they were not criminals, but victims of police practice that targets to criminalize dissenters, Marisol Abdurahman reported on “24 Oras.”
“Sa mga ganyang operasyon, katulad ng ginawa nila sa lahat ng mga kasamahan naming aktibista, tinataniman po nila ng mga bala para sampahan ng gawa-gawang kaso,” Romina Astudillo explained.
(In such operations, as they did with all our fellow activists, they planted ammunition to file fabricated cases.)
The other activists also denied owning the firearms and explosives recovered from their houses following a police raid.
“Imposible po ‘yun, hindi nga po ako marunong humawak ng baril at kami po ay mga aktibista, matagal na pong panahon,” Mark Ryan Cruz said.
(That is impossible, I do not know how to hold a gun, and we are activists for a long time.)
“Kami po ay mga aktibista. Ang aming alam lang po ay ipaglaban ‘yung karapatan ng mga manggagawa,” Jaymie Gregorio Jr. added.
(We are activists. All we know is to fight for the rights of the workers.)
Police arrested a trade union organizer, Dennise Velasco, last Thursday after a house search.
Arrested activists say firearms, explosive planted by police
Meanwhile, Filipina journalist Lady Ann Salem was arrested by authorities at her residence in Mandaluyong City also last Thursday.
Salem works as the editor of Manila Today and the communications officer of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT).
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police insisted the activists’ arrests were all legal.
“Walang katotohanan po ‘yung mga allegation nila. Nag-iipon po sila ng baril at nagbebenta po sila,” said CIDG Metro Manila chief Police Colonel Randy Silvio.
(Their allegations are untrue. They collect guns, and they sell them.)
“Meron tayong confidential agent na nag-report sa atin and nag-conduct po tayo ng series of surveillance and we found out na meron silang matataas na kalibre sa bawat bahay po nila.”
(We have a confidential agent who reported to us, and we conducted a series of surveillance, and we found out that they have high caliber in each of their houses.)
Authorities seized a total of 15 short firearms, two M16s, nine grenades, and 35 cellphones from the “Human Rights Day 7” activists.