July 23, 2011
Reference: Cristina Palabay, Tanggol Bayi Spokesperson (09175003879)
ILLEGAL ARREST OF WOMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER IN LA UNION CONDEMNED
Women’s rights group Tanggol Bayi today condemned the arrest of women human rights defender and former La Union Gabriela provincial coordinator Gloria Floresca, 60 years old, last July 21, 2011, three days before the State of the Nation Address of Pres. Noynoy Aquino.
According to the initial report of the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance, Floresca was arrested by elements of the La Union Police Regional Office-PNP and Naval Intelligence and Security Group in her house in Brgy. Ortiz, Naguilian, La Union on charges of rebellion, as she is being accused of being the head of the finance bureau of the Ilocos Cordillera Regional Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Floresca was arrested while she was preparing a meal for her grand-daughter.
Cristina Palabay, convenor of Tanggol Bayi, said “Floresca’s arrest only goes to show that the Arroyo policy of illegal arrest, filing of trumped up/fabricated charges, and illegal detention of human rights defenders continue to this day under Aquino’s watch.”
“There were already 45 political prisoners arrested and detained during Aquino’s first year in office. To date, there are already 33 women political prisoners, all of them human rights defenders. Floresca’s arrest only signifies the real human rights situation in the country – that HR defenders, leaders and members of poor marginalized communities and their organizations continue to be persecuted, silenced or put behind bars – to stifle dissent and political opposition,” she averred.
Floresca was reportedly brought to the Camp Diego Silang-Philippine National Police (PNP) in San Fernando, La Union and will be transferred to a Phil. National Police Camp in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur.
Tanggol Bayi called on Aquino to scrap Oplan Bayanihan, his government’s national security program, which they said is essentially a continuation of Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay. “With Oplan Bayanihan’s implementation, legitimate people’s organizations and progressive partylists remain as targets of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, illegal arrest and detention, very much like the situation when Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya was in force,” Palabay said.