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Bicolano activists are the latest victims of the pernicious pattern of red-tagging, terror-baiting, and evidence-planting. 

In simultaneous raids in Bicolandia in the wee hours of Sunday, 02 May 2021, Daniel Balucio, a pastor of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines and spokesperson of the Bicol Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, of Barangay San Isidro, Sto. Domingo, Albay, and Sarah Sta. Rosa, spokesperson of Jovenes Anakbayan in Bicol, of Naga City, were arrested and detained after police operatives allegedly recovered guns and explosives from their respective houses.  

Moreover, on the same day the residence of  Justine Mesias, a student leader of the Bicol University and spokesperson of Youth Act Now Against Tyranny Bicol, was also raided, and a gun and explosives were reportedly found in his house, although he was not present during the raid. 

While search warrants were judicially issued, it was reported that no family members or other persons were allowed to witness the conduct by the police of the searches and seizures. In the case of Balucio, the Barangay Chairman and a Kagawad of Barangay San Isidro responded to the belated notification of the raiding team more than one hour after the police operatives arrived at 3:00 AM and entered Balucio’s home. 

I am urging the Commission on Human Rights to immediately conduct an investigation on the subject arrests and seizures to determine violations of human rights and fundamental liberties.