Detained KMP peasant leader dies of COVID-19


Posted at May 11 2021 12:00 PM

MANILA - Detained peasant leader Joseph Canlas of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas has died from complications due to COVID-19, KMP said Tuesday.

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved peasant leader Joseph Canlas or Ka JC as he is fondly called by colleagues and poor farmers in Central Luzon,” KMP said in a statement.

The group said the 59-year old Canlas died early Tuesday to complications of COVID-19 which he acquired due to prolonged detention. Canlas was arrested last March 30 after the supposed recovery of a grenade, a gun and ammunition in Pampanga. 

“He was rushed to the ICU of Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital last Saturday evening due to acute respiratory failure and other COVID symptoms,” the statement said.

“We could only blame the Duterte government for Canlas’ untimely death. The state’s brutal fascism killed Canlas who was exposed to COVID while in detention and under the custody of the BJMP. His unjust detention led to the swift deterioration of his health condition,” said KMP.

Canlas was the group’s vice chairperson for Central Luzon and chair of the Alyansang ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL).

The group blamed the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) that allegedly subjected Canlas to constant red-tagging, Angeles City Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Ma. Angelica Paras-Quiambao who issued the search warrant against the peasant leader, and also the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group that executed what the group said was a defective warrant and carried out the illegal arrest on March 30. They likewise blamed the BJMP for neglecting Canlas’ health condition.

“We express our sincerest condolence to his family, his wife Mercy Canlas, and their children Jenelle and Joseph Jr. We will turn our grief into strong indignation and protest this government that kills its people,” the group said.