Delayed due process for detained fisherfolk leader hit

Manila, Philippines – The militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Tuesday slammed the “delaying tactics” on the due process of its detained regional leader Elwin Mangampo.

Mangampo, president of PAMALAKAYA’s Lakas ng mga Mangingisda ng Bicol (LAMBAT-Bicol), was arrested by the combined PNP-CIDG in his house last May 30. The arresting authorities allegedly found firearms and explosives in his house. The fishers’ group has been calling for the immediate release of its leader, asserting that Mangampo’s arrest was “undoubtedly fabricated charges based on planted pieces of evidence”.

According to Defend Bicol Stop the Attacks Network, the fisherfolk leader’s hearing was supposed to be on August 31 but has been rescheduled to October 5. However, Mangampo’s hearing today has been rescheduled again to October 18.

“Our regional leader is being deprived of freedom and liberties based on trumped-up charges for four months now. We are seeing what the government has been trying to do here; using the delaying tactic on the due process to prolong Mangampo’s detention and ultimately capsize his morale,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list representative slammed the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) in Bicol as “behind the continuous detention” of Mangampo, who is also the regional coordinator of Anakpawis. PAMALAKAYA said that the RTF-ELCAC, dubbed as “Task Force Katoninongan asin Kauswagan” “orchestrates red-tagging campaign that endangers the progressives and democratic forces in the Bicol region”.

“What the agents in the RTF-ELCAC in Bicol fail to realize is that they may have detained Mangampo physically, but never his determination to continue fighting for the rights and welfare of the fisherfolk and peasant sectors in Bicol,” Hicap added.

“Maraming mangingisda ang makakapagpatunay na si Elwin ay isang mangingisda na lehitimong kasapi at lider ng aming organisasyon. Sa patuloy na pagkaantala ng pagdinig sa mga gawa-gawang kaso laban sa kanya, hindi lamang si Elwin ang pinagkakaitan ng kalayaan at hustisya, kundi ang marami pang mangingisda na kanyang pinaglilingkuran sa pamamagitan ng LAMBAT-Bicol,” ended Hicap. ###

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