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Detained Kadamay members freed on bail

Raisa Serafica
The release of the 40 detained Kadamay members comes ahead of the courts’ closure for the Holy Week

DETAINED. Around 50 members of Kadamay are detained in Camp Karingal in Quezon City over charges of trespassing and coercion. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – After spending 9 days in Camp Karingal, the 40 Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) members who were detained over a housing protest were released on bail on Wednesday, April 12.

The release comes ahead of the courts’ closure for the Holy Week.

Quezon City Police District head Chief superintendent Guillermo Eleazar confirmed the receipt of a release order for detained Kadamay members after 6:00 pm on Wednesday.

Earlier, Kadamay said the police employed “delaying tactics” to prevent their release – an accusation police officials denied.

“While they should have already been released on bail, authorities have been blatantly delaying the process so that they may be transferred to the Quezon City Jail,” Kadamay said in a statement.

Police arrested on April 3 some 80 members of Kadamay after they occupied a vacant housing area in Barangay Apollo, Tandang Sora, that was demolished last year before President Rodrigo Duterte took his oath. The oldest from the group is 83-year old Epifana Rufa. (READ: Daughter of oldest detained Kadamay member seeks mother’s release

The detained protesters face trespassing and coercion charges.

Kadamay chairperson Gloria Arellano said they occupied the area since they did see any project being built there 9 months after they were driven away. (WATCH: Kadamay’s #OccupyPabahay: Anarchy or just cause?)

Delaying tactics? 

KADAMAY questioned the police about the delay in the release of the certificate of detention for the detained members. Only 34 of the detained 40 were also officially recognized by the police.

“Kayo nang-aresto, kayo nanghuli tapos biglang hindi niyo pala kilala?” Arellano asked.  (You arrested them. You detained them despite failing to identify all of them?) 

Quezon City Police District head Chief superintendent Guillermo Eleazar denied Kadamay’s claim that the detainees have already posted bail.

“They haven’t posted bail yet. Since the court only operated until afternoon today, Wednesday, they can’t make it that is why they are requesting for them not to be transferred to the city jail as there is already commitment order from the court,” Eleazar explained in mixed Filipino and English.  

Eleazar said that Gabriela Representative Emmi De Jesus and National Anti-Poverty Commission head Liza Maza visited Camp Karingal and requested the police to delay the transfer of the 40 Kadamay members to the city jail.

The police agreed despite a court order to transfer the detainees to the custody of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), according to Eleazar. “Iva-violate ang commitment ng order ng court. I will take the risk for their humanitarian concern. Pinagbibigyan na nga sila eh,” Eleazar added. (We will violate the commitment stated in the court order for humanitarian reasons.) 

DSWD visit 

On Monday, April 10, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Undersecretary Malou Turalde, together with some employees of the DSWD Central Office, also checked the condition of the 8 detained senior citizens.

SENIOR CITIZENS. DSWD Undersecretary Malou Turalde appeals for the release of the senior citizens for humanitarian reasons. Photo from DSWD

Turalde expressed concern over the senior citizens’ plight. Their age ranges from 64 to 83.

 “Sa kanilang dating sitwasyon ay mahirap na, ngunit mas malubha pa ngayong sila ay nasa Camp Karingal.  Ang mga matatanda at may sakit ay naghihirap sa loob, kung kaya’t umaapela kami na sila sana ay palayain na, bilang malasakit sa kanilang katandaan at dinaranas na karamdaman,”  Turalde said.

(Their situation prior to detention is already difficult, and being detained at Camp Karingal is even more deplorable. We appeal for their release as a show of compassion considering their old age and well-being.)

Some of the detained senior citizens are suffering from heart ailment, hypertension, and diabetes. (READ:  Taguiwalo appeals for release of detained elderly Kadamay members) – Rappler.com 

Raisa Serafica

Raisa Serafica is the Unit Head of Civic Engagement of Rappler. As the head of MovePH, Raisa leads the on ground engagements of Rappler aimed at building a strong community of action in the Philippines. Through her current and previous roles at Rappler, she has worked with different government agencies, collaborated with non-governmental organizations, and trained individuals mostly on using digital technologies for social good.