[ICHRP- Australia] Dismiss trumped-up cases against Amelia Pond, RMP Coordinator, Southern Mindanao Region
September 2, 2016,
H.E. Rodrigo Duterte
President of the Republic
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: email@example.com or send message through http://president.gov.ph/contact-us/
Dismiss trumped-up cases against Amelia Pond, RMP Coordinator, Southern Mindanao Region
We strongly denounce the detention on fabricated charges for double murder and frustrated murder against Amelia Pond, Regional Coordinator of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines – Southern Mindanao Region.
We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Amelia Pond, Dominiciano Muya and Joel Yagao, who were detained with her.
Last August 19, Amelia “Amy” Pond, 64 years old, also a teacher and research-documentation officer of Salugpongan Schools in the Southern Mindanao Region, was illegally arrested by 4 elements of Philippine National Police - Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) after the three-day 28th RMP National Assembly at LGC Renewal Center, Archbishop Reyes Avenue, Cebu City.
She was charged with trumped up charges such as double murder and frustrated murder in Compostela Valley under the name of Adelfa Toledo. At present, she is detained in Camp Sotero Cabahug in Cebu City.
At 1PM of August 19, armed men in civilian clothes together with a certain Lerio Corral, a woman CIDG member, blocked the taxi ridden by Pond’s group, she was at the passenger seat. Without legitimate basis, she was forced to get out.
She was then coerced to get inside a parked black SUV, while another armed man in black shirt and shorts, identified to be alias Bryan Coyote, pulled Amelia’s bag from behind her.
In Camp Sotero, SP04 Pablo Gentillan led the interrogation of Pond and the crimes against a certain Adelfa Toledo were imputed to her.
Pond was accused as being Adelfa Toledo, despite her vehement denials and protests of a clear frame-up. The interrogators produced two ID cards named Adelfa Toledo, but with photos resembling that of Pond. The interrogation continued until about 4PM and she was made to sign a prepared medical certificate dated August 18, 2016.
Since Pond’s arrest, there was a public clamor to immediately release her and scrap the trumped up charges filed against her. Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Central Visayas together with Karapatan and RMP Central Visayas held protests in front of Camp Sotero, supported by various people’s organizations and church people.
As part of literacy numeracy project, RMP SMR has more than 40 Lumad Salugpongan schools to which Pond is a teacher. RMP SMR, just like any other regions in Mindanao was known for supporting and helping the Lumad people to build schools. But these Lumad were also primarily target of military and para-military attacks that resulted to increasing numbers of human rights violation and bakwet (evacuees).
Aside from Pond, a lay worker and an agriculturist from RMP Northern Mindanao Region and SMR are still detained with fabricated charges, namely Joel Yagao, charged with multiple murder and Dominiciano Muya of multiple murders, illegal possession of firearms and other cases.
Clearly, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is still implementing former President BS Aquino’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, and are challenging the invigorated peace processes which your government is initiating.
We call on your government for:
1. The immediate withdrawal or dismissal of the trumped up cases against Amelia Pond, Joel Yagao and Dominiciano Muya;
2. An end to the military’s practice of filing of trumped up criminal charges against human rights activists, peasant and indigenous people’s leaders, and church workers in order to restrict their activities and halt the service they provide to those in need;
3. The immediate pull-out of government troops from the Lumad communities;
4. The Philippine Government to withdraw BS Aquino’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians; and
5. The Philippine Government to adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all the major Human Rights instruments that it is a party and signatory.
We appreciate the rapid dismissal of all the baseless charges against the fifteen activists and church workers assisting the Lumad evacuees at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines-Haran in Davao City, about which we wrote to you on July 13 this year.
Global Council, ICHRP
The RMP is a national organization, inter-congregational and inter-diocesan in character, of women and men religious, priests and lay. We live and work with the peasants (farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples and agricultural workers).