IPs condemn arrest of church activist in Cagayan
By KAMP (PR)
QUEZON CITY — “This is an act of repression, not of justice. We condemn the arrest of Agnes Mesina, and the trumped up charges filed against her. This is clearly political harassment.”
Piya Macliing Malayao, spokesperson of indigenous people’s organization Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Kamp) said.
Agnes Mesina, a lay worker of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Cagayan Valley was arrested last night during a meeting with Congressman Antonio Tinio, representative of ACT Teachers Partylist in the coffee shop of Hotel Rama in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.
National daily reports show that Mesina was arrested for her alleged involvement in the murder of Willem Geertman of Alay Bayan-Luzon killed in Angeles City last July 3.
Mesina was served a warrant of arrest for frustrated murder. She was released on July 6 on account of bail.
Malayoa stressed that the arrest of Agnes Mesina bears the marks of political harassment, as was done to many other activists.
“This trumped-up charge would certainly not hold up in a fair trial, this is purposely done to scare, harass, and inconvenience Agnes,” she added.
According to Kamp, Mesina is a long-time advocate for indigenous peoples rights, actively involved in campaigns against large-scale mining, logging and other environmental causes as well as human rights abuses.
“This is the State’s attempt to cut short Agnes’s contributions to the peoples movement, whom she had served for many years,” Malayao claimed.
The group shared that Mesina was the chairperson of Kabataan para sa Tribung Pilipino (Katribu) during her college days, and continued her advocacies for peasants and indigenous peoples in various organizations in Manila and other provinces including the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, a religious organization of Church workers and lay people servicing the rural poor.
Mesina is the current Makabayan coordinator for Cagayan Valley.
“Agnes was actively involved in campaigns against large-scale and destructive mining in Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya, which violated people’s rights,” Malayao shared.
Malayao also added that the swelling of support from community members, Churches, environmental activists, and many others have gained for Agnes the ire of mining companies that may have prompted this foul move to discredit her.
“These mining projects have full support from the national government, and are crawling with military agents and armed security. This act against one of the active critics and opposition proves which side the Aquino government patronizes,” Malayao claimed.
Kamp demands the dropping of charges against Mesina. “Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan has been flagrantly displaying its ruthless and tyrannical nature recently.
With the killing of Willem Geertman and the human rights atrocities done against the people in Bondoc Peninsula, the arrest of Agnes Mesina is but another proof of this administration’s brutality,” Malayao said. # nordis.net