May 3, 2021 @ 12:20

Pastor arrested in Bicol police raids – Karapatan

A Christian pastor was among those arrested by operatives of the Philippine National Police in Bicol on Sunday.

Karapatan reported that United Church of Christ of the Philippines Pastor Dan Balucio, 62, who also serves as spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Bicol, was arrested by authorities along with two others at Sunday dawn in Albay.

“The patterns in the police raids based on the initial accounts of witnesses are similar to the operations conducted in Negros, Iloilo, Metro Manila, Central Luzon and the Bloody Sunday raids in Southern Tagalog,” the human rights group said.

Karapatan added that Balucio and all other occupants of the Shannan Christian Academy where he was staying were forcibly brought out of the bungalow house and the premises were searched. They claimed to have found guns, ammunition, a grenade, and a red flag. The religious leader is currently detained at the Sto. Domingo Municipal Police Station.

In Naga City, activist leader Maria Jesusa “Sasah” Sta. Rosa was searched, while student leader Justine Mesias was arrested in Daraga, Albay the same day.

“Karapatan deplores this spate of police and military raids, purportedly based on search warrants, as highly questionable operations meant to crackdown on dissent on human rights defenders and social activists — this time, in the Bicol Region,” it said in a statement. “The patterns in these operations have become the new normal for the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in their attempts to harass, threaten, and arbitrarily arrest and detain activists.”

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