Calbiga, Samar—Human rights group Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas – Karapatan slammed the illegal arrest of a peasant-leader and member of the alliance People Surge at around 7:30 in the morning last November 10, Friday. The farmer identified as Carlito “James” Badillo, age 41, from Marabut, Western Samar was captured by military officials at the village of Legaspi in the said town while on his way home after sending his children to Osmena National High School.
Local radio station Bombo Radyo Tacloban, immediately that day, confirmed that it was the members of the 87th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army who seized Badillo. This was again confirmed by a certain “Macky” of the military, according to People Surge Secretary General Marissa Cabaljao and her team who immediately went to the camp of the 87th Infantry Battalion in Calbiga, Samar to supposedly rescue and request for the immediate release of Badillo.
After thirty minutes of waiting outside their camp, military elements told Cabaljao that Badillo is not there anymore. Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division, in a news aired in ABS-CBN Tacloban on November 10, also denied that they captured a certain Carlito Badillo.
Badillo was then detained at Marabut Police Station later that day as six armed men told the police officials that the peasant leader was found with a firearm and is facing a rebellion case. The next day, he was brought to a police station in Palo where he was accused of bringing explosives aside from the firearm.
In an interview, Badillo revealed that he was forced to ride a white car while a short firearm was pointed at him. He was then brought to a room and was interrogated and tortured. The military officials were accusing him of being a member of the rebel group New People’s Army (NPA).
Badillo added that the military slapped him using a slipper, stricken his chest, and even threatened to kill him. Before he was turned over to the police station, Badillo was forced to sign a paper which the military officials did not explain when the peasant leader asked what the content was.
Peasant group Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (Sagupa SB), in a Facebook post, also condemns the military’s blatant disregard of the human rights. According to Sagupa SB, at least one farmer in Eastern Visayas is illegally arrested under the Duterte administration. It can be recalled that two farmers from Pinabacdao, Samar and Can-avid, Eastern Samar were also illegally arrested due to rebellion cases which groups tag as “fabricated charges”.