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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE: 4:57 PM) - Members of the human rights group Karapatan and New People's Army (NPA) rebels are facing charges over the alleged kidnapping of a 19-year-old former activist in Quezon early this month, but Karapatan insisted the activist was kidnapped by soldiers and they have a video to show that was the story he first gave.
Quezon police said charges of illegal detention were filed against members of Karapatan-Quezon while a case of kidnapping with illegal detention will also be filed against several other alleged rebels by Franklin Barrera, a resident of Barangay Manguisian in Lopez town.
Officer-on-case PO2 Rodel Abracia said that last June 7 at 1 p.m., Barrera was walking in Barangay Burgos, Lopez town when he was allegedly abducted by the rebels and forced inside a red van.
Barrera was brought to a nipa hut in Barangay San Isidro, where he was hogtied and threatened with death if he did not reveal the identity of the rebels he knew.
Barrera was later able to escape and boarded a bus to Atimonan town, where he proceeded to Dona Martha Hospital for treatment. The following day, Barrera was reportedly fetched by Karapatan member Christopher Regencia and was brought to the Karapatan office in Barangay 4, Lucena City.
Police said the victim was "held captive" for two days until he was able to escape on June 10.
Barrera sought the assistance of police and is now under the custody of the Army's 85th Infantry Battalion.
Military seized Barrera – Karapatan
The group Karapatan insisted that it was the military that abducted Barrera and not members of the NPA.
Karapatan spokesperson Tinay Palabay said it was the usual "modus operandi" of soldiers to harass victims of human rights violations for them to recant their accusations against soldiers. Palabay said they were able to videotape the statements of Barrera, who said that he was abducted by soldiers and was kept in a safehouse until he was able to escape.
Coordinator of Kabataan partylist
Barrera was reportedly a coordinator of the Kabataan partylist in Quezon. "We responded according to our mandate to monitor and document and alleged human rights violations. We see this as the usual modus of the AFP in using people or clients of Karapatan to speak maliciously against our organization," Palabay said in a phone interview.
Palabay said the group will answer the charges filed against them.
Barrera, accompanied by soldiers, went to Quezon police on June 19 to file the charges against his former colleagues. The rebels charged were identified as follows:
- Joseph Delos Santos aliases Ka Ken and Ka Bingot
- Joey Quedor alias Ka Diego
- Aristedes Sarmiento alias Ka Leleng
- Wilmar Maravilla
- Zaldymar Maravilla
- Roshame lIlagan aliases Ka Rosh and Ka Marla
- Jenelyn Dichoso alias Ka Jenny
- Darwin Bonrostro alias Ka Mat
- Edgardo Tabien alias Ka Egay
- Jerome Obligar alias Ka Supsup
- Christopher Regencia
- Leslie Anne Olbinar alias Ka Shobe
- Ryan Niño Tan aliases Ka Amihan and Ka Alon
- Jose Marcellana alias Ka Peping
- Mylene Santoa alias Ka May-May
- Samson Castillo alias Ka Eman
- Mark Niño Romero alias Ka Mike
- Ismael Delos Santos aliases Ka Maen, Black Jack
- Evirei Andal alias Ka Bea
- Jeselle Oriani alias Ka Gotik.