By Reuben Pio Martinez
Authorities held KARAPATAN Rizal secretary general Gloria Rodriguez in custody last May 7, 2020, at 7:30 pm. Rodriguez, who is 65-years old, was barred in a Brgy. San Jose, Antipolo City checkpoint with three other alliance affiliates.
The arresting officers claimed that Rodriguez and others violated the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for traveling without a quarantine pass and vehicle overloading in accordance to the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
Members of KARAPATAN Rizal, including Rodriguez, were in the process of retrieving the body of an individual placed in St. Peter’s Funeral Homes, Tanay, Rizal since March 28, 2020. The casualty, identified as Noel Levanta was tagged by the 80th Infantry Battalion (IB) as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA), and the body was originally recovered in Rodriguez, Rizal. The alliance was accompanied by the deceased’s family.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) – Rizal explained further that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), through the 80th IB, delayed the retrieval of the body and forced Levanta’s relatives to give consent for an autopsy that will be facilitated at Camp Crame extension crime laboratory in Taytay.
The relatives have been looking from funeral parlor to funeral parlor, with the KARAPATAN team finally finding the body in St. Peter, Tanay. The Rodriguez Municipal Police Station (MPS) further delayed the process around April 3 to 4 by not providing the release order for the remains because according to them, only the parents of Levanta could claim the remains.
His parents were already senior citizens and residing at Mindanao and could no longer travel due to ECQ. It was also reported that the AFP continually harassed and threatened Levanta’s relatives with the military even visited them in their homes, and offered deals in exchange for a relative’s testimony that Levanta is really a member of NPA.
A Facebook update from BAYAN – Rizal stated that after being held in custody at Antipolo City Police Station, the human rights activist and her colleagues were released at 9 pm, after no charges could be raised against them. It was also said that the team had sufficient documents to travel for the retrieval of Levanta’s remains.
In a press release, BAYAN – Rizal criticized the 80th IB for their supposed long list of human rights violations that they committed all across Rizal.
“Sinasamantala nito ang [e]pidemya at ang ECQ para sa pagpapalaganap ng mga fake news, mga maiitim ng Propaganda laban sa makatarungang pakikibaka ng mamamayan para sa Mass testing, [a]yuda, [s]olusyong [m]edikal at karapatang [s]ibil, sa ilalim ng umiiral na [m]ala – Martial Law.” [P]
Photo credits to Bulatlat and Gloria Rodriguez’s Facebook profile