activist groups in PH

Red-tagged peasant leader arrested in Cagayan

Jairo Bolledo
Red-tagged peasant leader arrested in Cagayan

PEASANT LEADER. A photo of Anakpawis Cagayan Valley chairperson Calixto Cabildo during a protest.

Photo from Karapatan

Rights group Karapatan alleges that cops planted evidence against Anakpawis Cagayan chair Calixto Cabildo, who was arrested in Amulung town

Police arrested a peasant leader in Cagayan on Thursday, March 25, over alleged possession of firearms and explosives that rights groups claimed were planted by cops.

Calixto Cabildo, chairperson of Anakpawis Cagayan, was arrested in Barangay Manalo, Amulung town. He is currently detained at the Amulung municipal police station. 

Cabildo, a former barangay chairman, is a member of the Cagayan Irrigators and Farmer’s Association (CIFA) and the Karapatan quick response team, and chairs Kagimungan, an alliance of peasants in Cagayan. 

Police said they recovered one .38 revolver, 5 live ammunition inserted, and one hand grenade from Cabildo. This claim was immediately refuted by rights group Karapatan Cagayan Valley which said in a statement in Filipino that Cabildo was “illegally arrested and planted with evidence.”

Cabildo reported to Karapatan Cagayan Valley in October 2020 that someone who claimed to be a government intelligence officer came to his house multiple times.

“Ilang beses din siyang ni-redtag at tinakot ng pulis na ‘magpalinis ng kanyang pangalan’ at sumurender (He was red-tagged several times and threatened by police to ‘clear his name’ and surrender),” Karapatan Cagayan Valley said.

The complaints against Cabildo – illegal possession of firearms and explosives – are the usual charges made against progressives.

The arrest was made a few days after rights worker Renalyn Tejero’s arrest in Cagayan de Oro City.

During the “Bloody Sunday” operations, Nimfa Lanzanas, a senior citizen who works as a paralegal from Karapatan was arrested due to similar complaints. The police said she kept a grenade and high level guns in her home – even though she is frail and has no background in combat. –

Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.