Two activists arrested in series of raids in Bicol


Posted at May 02 2021 09:26 PM

Two activists arrested in series of raids in Bicol 1
Police arrest activist Maria Jesusa Sta. Rosa in Naga City. Courtesy Naga City Police Office.

MANILA — Authorities arrested 2 activists following a series of raids in different parts of the Bicol region on Sunday. 

Police arrested Anakbayan member Maria Jesusa Sta. Rosa, and Bayan-Bicol secretary-general Pastor Dan Balucio for allegedly keeping illegal firearms and explosives. 

Sta. Rosa was arrested in Naga City, Camarines Sur, while Balucio was arrested in Sto. Domingo, Albay.

Police also raided a house in Daraga, Albay to arrest college student Justine Mesias who is the Bicol spokesperson of Youth Act Now Against Tyranny. Mesias, however, was not there when the raid was conducted. 

A gun, several rounds of ammunition, and 2 grenades were found in the house of Sta. Rosa, police said.

Sta. Rosa's camp however said that the police planted the firearms and explosives. 

Bayan Muna Representative Ferdinand Gaite condemned the arrest of the activists, who he said were victims of red-tagging.

"Since the Duterte administration's crackdown against the Left started, activists are always aware that there is a constant threat of raids of their homes, of arrests, and attacks, it is preposterous that they would keep illegal weapons and bombs in their homes, things that activists don't even need in the first place," Gaite said.

Human rights group Karapatan also condemned the arrests while the National Council of Churches in the Philippines called for Balucio's release.

— Report from Jonathan Magistrado