Party-list group Bayan Muna deplored the arrest of farmers’ group leader and incumbent barangay official Carmilo Tabada over gun charges in Trinidad town.
Bayan Muna Central Visayas coordinator John Ruiz denied the police’s allegations that Tabada kept unlicensed firearms and a grenade at his home in Trinidad and that the latter is the leader of the Tabada Crime Group.
Bayan Muna has vowed to support the Tabada family.
“Daghang loopholes sa ilang legal procedures sa pag conduct sa search warrant; it would be dismissed sa mercy sa atoang justice system or sa atong court,” said Ruiz.
Ruiz supported claims of Tabada’s family that the seized guns were planted by the police and that the raid at their home was carried out while barangay officials have not arrived to witness the search.
“Nganong ang serving of search warrant himuon man gyud sa kadlawon, sa cover sa kangitngit ug ngano di man mo subay sa proseso,” said Ruiz in an interview over station dyRD’s “Inyong Alagad” program on Wednesday.
Some 50 police and military personnel carried out the raid at Tabada’s residence on June 25, he added.
The operatives allegedly found at his residence a .45 caliber pistol; a KG9, which is 9mm machine pistol, with live ammunition; a hand grenade; and subversive documents.
The Cebu-based Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7, which led the serving of the search warrant at Tabada’s home, has maintained that the operation was legitimate.
“Hindi kami mag conduct ng operation kung wala kaming bisa ng search warrant. Eh, klarong klaro naman na mayroon tayong search warrant na ipanatupad,” CIDG-7 director Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog said in a press briefing.
According to Dalogdog, that the CIDG’s Bohol Field Unit received reports from confidential informants indicating tha Tabada and Pastor Nathaniel Vallente, who was also arrested in Mabini town over gun charges and accused of being a member of the Tabada Crime Group, were in possession of unlicensed firearms.
Tabada’s crime ring allegedly engaged in gun-running activities and “other criminal activities” in Bohol, the police official added.
Ruiz said the police’s allegation that Tabada is a leader of a crime group is “laughable,” claiming that the Tabada Crime Group is unheard of in Bohol.
“Himuon pa nilang bugo ang publiko sa ilahang mga linya sa storya na perteng kataw-anan naa ba tay nadunggang na Tabada Crime Group sa Bohol…Kamo naa ba moy nadunggan? Ako wa gyud ko,” Ruiz said.
He added that Tabada has no prior records with the police.
Ruiz alleged that Tabada had been repeatedly “threatened” by the Philippine Army to end his involvement with FARDEC (Farmers Development Center), a farmers’ group which has been red-tagged or vilified by state agents as a supporter of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
According to Ruiz, the military had been visiting Tabada at the Barangay Hall in Barangay Poblacion.
“Giduol na ni sa 47th IB niadtong 2019 sa wa pa magsugod ang pandemic ug gi hulga na g’yud ni siya na og di pa mo undang, duna gyuy mahitabo niya. Kinahanglan siya mo hawa, mo undang sa HUMABOL, kinahanglan mo undang siya sa iyang pagka coordinator sa FARDEC,” said Ruiz.
“Naay record ana ang barangay kay sa barangay hall ni siya gi adto, dili ra sa usa ka higayon, kung di ko masayop ika tulong higayon ni siya gibalik-balikan,” he added.
The party-list group official alleged that state agents have been going after farmers’ group leaders, particularly those who have been vocal against the government and seeking to empower other farmers or “give voice to the voiceless.”
He noted this may have been the reason why authorities went after Tabada.
“Kung ang mag-uuma kamao na gani mo duso og tawhanong katungod, mo yawyaw na gani na ‘sir bawal mo sud kay wa moy search warrant,’ ingnon dayon og indoctrinated na mo sa NPA,” said Ruiz. (R. Tutas)