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Bacolod police raid prelude to intensified crackdown on Duterte critics —Makabayan

The Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives on Friday condemned the simultaneous raids conducted by the police in Bacolod City which led to the arrest of more than 60 activists.

In a statement, Makabayan said the raids "are a possible prelude to an intensified crackdown to cut down or eliminate progressives and critics of the Duterte regime."

"At the same time this would provide a big diversionary tactic from the issues besieging Duterte like high prices of commodities, corruption in the PNP, failure of the bogus drug war, water interruptions, the mass transportation crisis, massive traffic jams and underemployment," it added.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-6 and the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID), Joint Task Force-Negros, and Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo) raided the offices of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Gabriela Negros Center, and the Negros Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) on Thursday night using what KMU claimed was a "questionable search warrant."

"The search warrant which include John Does and Jane Does as respondents was issued by Quezon City Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert, the same Judge who issued search warrants against National Democratic Front of the Philippines Consultants, and who acts as a lapdog of the PNP," KMU said in a separate statement.

Authorities arrested KMU Negros leader Noly Rosales; Gabriela Manila Chapter Chairperson and Metro Manila Regional Spokesperson Cora Agovida and her husband Tim Bartolome; and Secretary- General of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) John Milton Lozande.

Community journalist May-Anne Krueg; Proceso Quiatchon of Karapatan; Aldrin Dela Cerna of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas; Danny Tabura of NFSW, and six minors who are members of Teatro Obrero were also nabbed.

KMU also denied that the raided offices were training centers of the communist armed group New People's Army.

"The claim that these offices are training centers of the New People’s Army is highly preposterous. This very crooked argument is being construed to justify the illegal arrests," it said.

Makabayan, KMU, and Gabriela all called for the immediate release of the arrested individuals.

Makabayan said it will file counter-charges against the police and soldiers involved in the raids.

"Pres. Duterte will no longer be there in 2022 to protect those who violated the rights of the people and they will definitely be held to account for their crimes," it said. —KBK, GMA News