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Rights group cries foul over 'raid' on people's orgs' offices in Bacolod

Human rights group Karapatan has denounced the alleged "raid" that were conducted in the offices of some groups in Bacolod City on Thursday afternoon.

In a statement, Karapatan claimed that authorities had used a search warrant to target the offices of Gabriela, Bayan Muna as well as the National Federation of Sugar Workers in the area.

"The use of search warrants has become a trend increasingly used in Negros, which makes offices and individuals vulnerable to the planting of evidence," Karapatan said.

Information from Police Regional Office 6 said four search warrants issued by Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert of the Branch 89 of Quezon City Regional Trial Court were implemented on alleged communists' safehouses in Bacolod City.

Four individuals identified as John Milton Luzande, Noli Lazera Rosales, Proseso Quiatchon and Albert Dela Cerna were arrested in the first operation at Barangay Bata for alleged violation of Republic Act No. 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

Seized items include 24 units of assorted caliber of short firearms, a hand grenade, four bladed weapons, assorted Kilusang Mayo Uno flags, a megaphone, microphone, assorted live ammunition and some subversive documents.

In the second operation, also in the same barangay, one Mary Anne Krueger was nabbed by authorities for the alleged violation of Republic Act No. 10591.

Seized from her were one .38 caliber snub nose, Smith and Wesson revolver loaded with three ammunitions without serial number, five pieces live ammunition for caliber .38, and one .38 caliber revolver without a serial number.

In another search at Barangay Taculing, one Romulo Bito-on and Amaylin Bito-on were arrested for violation of Republic Act No. 10591 as well as violation of Republic Act No. 9516 or Illegal Possession of Explosives.

Police were able to confiscate one .45 ciber pistol, one KG 9 submachine gun, seven pieces live ammunition for .45 caliber, five pieces live ammunition for KG 9 submachine gun, one magazine for KG 9 submachine gun, one piece magazine for .45 caliber pistol and two pieces fragmentation grenade.

Meanwhile, authorities also searched an area in Barangay Libertad which led to the arrest of Diego Malacad, Danilo Tabura and Roberto Lachica for supposed violation of Republic Act No. 10591.

Recovered from there were two units of .38 caliber revolver without serial number, one unit of caliber 45 Para Ordnance with serial number 37612, one unit magazine assem for caliber .45, seven pieces live ammunition for caliber .45, and two pieces live ammunition for 40 MM.

Meanwhile, Karapatan said it is verifying additional pieces of information on the incident, including the warrantless arrests of several individuals.

"We stand with these organizations and assert that these attacks are acts of reprisal for the campaigns and criticisms raised by these organizations against the government's failures," Karapatan said, noting that the groups were operating legally.

Despite the attacks, the rights group encouraged all organizations to continue with their advocacy. —KBK, GMA News