IP leader active in sus devt appeals after his illegal arrest

Family and friends of Campos (center) greet him at Tandag PNP station upon his turn-over to Gov.Pimentel’s custody.

Led by Datu Tayadan and Datu Magno, almost 70 Lumad  leaders and members staged a rally  in front of Tandag City PNP station  on  March 24,2013  urging policemen to release Jalandoni S. Campos, Chairperson of MAPASU (Persevering Struggle for the Next Generation) organization, who was detained in Tandag City jail after having been arrested at around 8:00 o’clock in the evening of   March 23, 2013. Spearheaded by Deputy Chief of Police Joemel  Maquiling and PSUPT Jeffrey Lawrence Mauricio, Campos was arrested in front of 97.5 SURE FM radio station right after a one-hour radio  talk  of presenting  Katribu Partylist   under  the regular program of radio anchorman Nick Acapulco. SPO1 Versatalico Quiῆones Pacate together with other policeman in civilian clothes arrested Campos after they presented the warrant of arrest.

During the rally, women questioned the validity of the Campos arrest and detention as they had not received any information or subpoena prior to the case filed. In front of the protesters SPO3 Amozon, RT said Campos is an NPA. Altogether the protesters shouted “He is not an NPA!” Myrna Belandres, Deputy Secretary of MAPASU organization explained “We are here to claim our detained leader. We have known our leader well and he is innocent of any crime!”. PSUPT. Jeffrey Lawrence Mauricio came out and explained that their responsibility was in implementing orders as instructed. Protesters were only allowed to see their leader after the arrival of Fr. Manuel Cruz. Governor Johnny Pimentel also came and expressed willingness to put Campos under his custody. Campos is scheduled to be brought to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 28 on March 24, 2013 after issuance of commitment order.

Strong unity for Campos’ release

Campos was accompanied by the vigilance of the people day and night from the very hour that he was arrested. In the morning of March 24, 2013, almost two hundred Lumad leaders and members came down from six municipalities and waited the whole day along the highway, determined to accompany Campos in going to the RTC. Visits from different sectors escalated every hour inside the Tandag City PNP station. Mayor Sarmen and Mayor Ayec Pimentel together with Gov. Pimentel came after arrival of priests and nuns. At around 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon, nuns pressured police heads for delaying Campos’ court appearance. Mauricio explained that the judge had not yet signed the commitment order and that was causing the delay. A reliable source from Lianga said that Judge Halad had already left the RTC at around 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon. Leaders and members went home to prepare for the gathering of  thousands more for the following day. At 8:00 o’clock in the evening, Governor Pimentel decided to put Campos under his custody. The custody agreement was signed by Prosecutor Florito Cuartero and PSUPT Jeffrey Lawrence Maurcio witnessed by the Missionary Benedictine Sisters headed by Sr.Mary James Mujar,OSB, and the executive directors of two Lumad institutions TRIFPSS and ALCADEV. Prosecutor Cuartero promised immediate review of papers by Tuesday.

 Illegal arrest

On March 26, 2013, support groups retrieved a copy of a court order for case no.# 2417 which charged Campos for rebellion and  implicated him in an NPA attack of  Lianga Police Station in April 29, 2011.  “The warrant of arrest presented to Jalandoni Campos was lifted by Presiding Judge Alfredo Jalad of RTC Branch 28 on June 1, 2012. His arrest and subsequent detention was therefore illegal!”, declared Dr. Naty Castro, Karapatan Caraga Secretary General. Under the directives of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU) Campos was illegally arrested by the PNP elements of Tandag  City. “Millions cannot compensate for my imprisonment despite my innocence, my shame at being handcuffed when I was brought to the hospital for medical check-up. Where is justice in our country? I am strongly appealing to the Philippine court to seriously take necessary steps in this matter,” said Campos. Amidst the traumatic experience of arrest, Prosecutor Cuartero explained that irregularities were committed by the arresting officers are due to failures in distributing court order copies by the clerk of court to different agencies.

Active in sustainable development, against large scale mining

Campos is a leader that belongs to the Manobo tribe. He is well known for his strong stance for indigenous peoples’ right to development. Having a positive outlook for sustainable development, he is not only active within MAPASU organization communities. He joins organizing and reviving people’s organizations inside and outside of Surigao del Sur for the expansion of schools and food security projects. He is a council member of KASALO-CARAGA, a regional alliance of Lumad organizations, and KALUMARAN, a Mindanao wide alliance of Lumad organizations. He promotes an audacious economic program on self-sufficiency to indigenous communities under threat of large scale mining by intensifying campaigns on sustainable agriculture to combat poverty and hunger. The successful visit of the First Secretary of the Belgian Embassy to ALCADEV in 2010 inspired him more after hearing the big concerns of European countries for the right to food security. He believes in alternative education as an instrument in shaping development. Together with other leaders, he defended alternative schools like ALCADEV and TRIFPSS when these were vilified and discriminated against by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other oppressive elements.

The indigenous communities that he led are heavily militarized due to the threat of destructive large scale mining. Campos stood up in negotiations between military officials during forcible evacuations in the years 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011. He was one of the brave speakers of MANILAKBAYAN delegates last December 2012 where he condemned and criticized destructive effects of large-scale mining and brutal state-sponsored killings of indigenous leaders in Mindanao. In April 2011, police in Lianga Surigao del Sur filed trumped-up criminal charges against Campos, together with 38 members of the MAPASU organization, in connection with an NPA attack on the PNP station. They were not informed of the complaint filed against them, despite the fact that Campos is well-known in his own hometown as a leader of the organization. He is one of the leaders who submitted a complaint of  trumped up charges filed against them before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Surigao del Sur, the Department of Justice and the Commission on Human Rights in Manila.

The illegal arrest and detention of Campos at the height of Lenten season alarmed religious groups, who clamored for his immediate release. Above all, the state is viewed as an instrument that guarantees the full protection of human rights and the due process of law. Campos’ arrest shows the distortion of the law, subverting the rights of powerless and innocent civilians. For the poor and the oppressed, Campos’ arrest shows that achieving genuine justice lies in the people’s vigilance and united efforts. ###

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