Free staunch anti-Manila Bay reclamation activist Pao Colabres – Pamalakaya
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) demanded the release of Pao Colabres, the paralegal who was arrested by the elements of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) around 2am at the vicinity of Pink Petals Funeral while on watch against illegal acts on the “body of evidence” of assassinated Anakpawis Party-list National Chairperson Randall “Ka Randy” Echanis.
He is a former seminarian and student of the Don Bosco Technical College Mandaluyong and worked previously with church groups supporting peasants’ struggle for genuine agrarian reform. Colabres is presently a staff of the Pamalakaya National Office, organizing fisherfolk of Navotas City against reclamation activities, and a volunteer of Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (SENTRA), the legal counsel of Echanis. He was also part of the paralegal team led by SENTRA during the protest actions coinciding the last State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Quezon City.
“Sigaw namin na palayain na si Ka Pao, dahil basura ang kasong obstruction of justice na ibinibintang sa kanya. Kailan pa naging tagapagtaguyod ng justice ang QCPD, na notoryus sa tokhang at ang mass killing ng pekeng ‘war on drugs’ ni Duterte ay iniimbestigahan na nga ng United Nations? Mismong pulis ang guilty sa obstruction of justice, at ang pagbabantay ni Ka Pao laban sa mga iligal na aksyon sa bangkay ni Ka Randy ay obstruction of injustice,” Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap, Pamalakaya National Chairperson and a former representative of Anakpawis Party-list during the 16th congress.
According to SENTRA, there is no law giving the police the authority to seize the body of Echanis, in addition that Article 306 of the Civil Code, gives the right of funeral arrangements to the spouse.
“Malinaw sa batas na ninakaw ng PNP ang bangkay ni Ka Randy dahil labag ito sa kagustuhan at karapatan ng pamilya. Hindi lang human rights violator ang PNP, kundi anti-family pa! Kaya, ang kasong ibinibintang kay Ka Pao, ay isang basurang kaso, at nakapagtataka pa na kinokonsidera pa ito ng QC Prosecutor’s Office,” Hicap further slammed.
He added that Colabres is an organizer of fisherfolk residents of Navotas City who are now threatened to be displaced by the 650-hectare Navotas Coastal Bay Reclamation Project. Hicap bared that they are already coordinating with various non-government organizations (NGOs) who opposed the Manila Bay reclamation to demand the immediate release of Colabres.
“Kapag nagpatuloy ang violation na ito sa right to liberty ni Ka Pao, hindi kami magdadalawang-isip na magsampa ng kaso sa mga involved na pulis at mga kakutsaba nito sa prosecutor’s office,” Hicap warned.
Pamalakaya was the group who lodged a complaint against Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado last February, for her pushing of the Bacoor Reclamation Project, amid the 2008 Supreme Court mandamus of Manila Bay rehabilitation. ###