Press Release CPP says Dr. Castro’s arrest aims to cow the people
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today condemned the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) for the “unlawful arrest and unjust detention” of Dr. Natividad Silva Castro. “The Party adds its voice to the immediate demand of human rights organizations, colleagues and friends of Dr. Castro for her immediate release and dropping of all trumped-up charges against her.”
“Dr. Castro is a victim of the continuing war of terror against the people of the Duterte regime and its NTF-Elcac,” said CPP Information Officer Marco L. Valbuena. She was forcibly taken yesterday by fascist police and military agents who raided her home in San Juan City on the basis of a warrant of arrest issued on January 30, 2020 by the Regional Trial Court Branch 7 of Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur. She is being charged of kidnapping and illegal detention.
Human rights organizations report that she has not been contacted by her legal counsel or family after the arrest. Valbuena supported demands for her to be immediately afforded legal representation and medical assistance as she suffers from hypertension and diabetes. He urged all democratic forces to close ranks and undertake urgent action to demand the release of Dr. Castro and all political prisoners.
Dr. Castro was former chair of Karapatan-Caraga region and is known for having helped in the establishment of Lumad schools and extending medical services to rural areas. According to news reports, Dr. Castro was among the resource people who spoke before the United Nations to present the conditions and human rights situation of the Lumad people.
Valbuena said the arrest of Dr. Castro is part of the continuing effort to silence the people, especially in Mindanao, where military and police forces have been waging a relentless war of suppression marked by rampant abuses and human rights violations. “The people of Mindanao, portrayed as a Duterte bailiwick, suffer worsening forms of suppression and intolerable social and economic conditions.”
The CPP also said the arrest of Dr. Castro may be linked with plans to intensify attacks against patriotic and democratic forces to prevent them from effectively campaigning for the May elections and stifle their voices against efforts to steal the elections in favor of Duterte’s candidates.
Dr. Castro is being accused by the military and police for being a “top official” of the CPP. Valbuena said “military red-tagging against human rights defenders is nothing new and has been repeatedly used by state forces to justify its campaign of extrajudicial killings, illegal arrest, and non-stop harassment against progressive social activists who have been critical of Duterte’s tyrannical reign.”
As of December 2021, 712 political prisoners continue to languish in prison, 489 of which were arrested under the Duterte administration.