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Bishop slams arrest of activists in Negros, joins call for probe

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 11/8/2019
a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Bishop Gerardo Alminaza © CBCP Online Bishop Gerardo Alminaza

A Catholic bishop expressed alarm on Thursday over the arrest of 62 activists in a series of raids in Bacolod City in Negros Occidental, and joined calls for an impartial investigation into perceived "irregularities" of the law-enforcement sweep.

An article on CBCP News quoted San Carlos bishop Gerardo Alminaza as saying, “We express alarm of these unfortunate incidents that aggravate the culture of fear and silence in our island of Negros.

Earlier, police said that the 62 activists arrested on the October 31 raids were undergoing "indoctrination" in offices of militant groups.

Authorities also claimed that firearms were seized during the raids, an allegation activists strongly denied, saying the weapons were "planted."

Several groups have called on the Supreme Court to investigate the actions of the Quezon City judge who issued search warrants for offices and homes of activists in Bacolod City, and in Manila.

While 32 of the 62 activists have already been freed,  Alminaza noted that those arrested are all members of organizations being “red-tagged” by the police, the CBCP News report said.

Also, the bishop was quoted as saying that the authorities’ actions were disturbing since most of those summarily killed in the Negros island were also red-tagged or accused of links to the communist rebels.

“We, therefore, join the call for an impartial investigation of these arrests, for due process and the rule of law to be upheld,” Alminaza was quoted as saying.  —LBG, GMA News

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