April 24, 2024

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Day after Labor Day: Two Bicol activist-leaders nabbed in separate, predawn raids

Pastor Dan Balucio. Photo from google

Almost a day after Labor Day, two Bicol activist-leaders were nabbed in two separate raids, in Camarines Sur and Albay Provinces.

Police special units nabbed the two activists early Sunday dawn, May 2, 2021, on alleged “illegal possession of firearms and explosives”, whom activists say are frequent charges used by State forces to jail dissenters.

Nabbed were Sasah Sta. Rosa, chairperson of Anakbayan Naga City also spokesperson of the regional Anakbayan Jovenes, and Pastor Dan Balucio, secretary-general and spokesperson of BAYAN chapter in Bicol Region.

Sta. Rosa was arrested at around 3:00 a.m. in her house at Cararayan, Naga City in Camarines Sur.

While Balucio was seized an hour later, in his home in Sto. Domingo, Albay, according to a Facebook post by Karapatan Bikol.

The two were arrested by virtue of search warrants issued by Legazpi City Judge Edgar Armes.

The two activists may face charges of “illegal possession of firearms and explosives,” which are nonbailable offenses.

At least 10 armed SWAT men and 5 uniformed police officers took part in raiding Sta. Rosa’s home.

Meanwhile, Pastor Balucio’s house was raided by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) from Camp Simeon Ola, the headquarters of Police Regional Office 5 based in Legazpi City, Albay.

Youth group, Anakbayan Naga said policemen had spent around 40 minutes scouring through Sta. Rosa’s room, after which they had allegedly “recovered” a bag full of guns and grenades.

These “recovered evidences” were planted, Anakbayan Naga said in a report.

Balucio’s arrest was similar. A staff member of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and Balucio’s kin were asked to lay on the floor, while authorities raided the place he was staying at.

“Seized” during the search were grenades and guns, the youth group said in its report.

Sta. Rosa is currently detained at the CIDG office in Naga City, while Balucio’s whereabouts are still unknown.

Pastor Dan Balucio’s house after the police raid. Photo from fb