NDF-Mindanao spokesman killed; journo, union organizer arrested on Int’l Human Rights Day

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 10) — A National Democratic Front spokesman was killed, while a journalist and a trade union organizer were arrested in separate incidents on Thursday, coinciding with the annual observance of the International Human Rights Day.

The Communist Party of the Philippines said that Alvin Luque, a spokesperson of the NDF in Mindanao, and a companion did not die in a gun fight but were killed by military forces on early Thursday in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.

The Philippine National Police earlier said that law enforcers were supposed to serve an arrest warrant when the suspects opened fire at arresting officers.

However, the CPP pointed out that it was impossible for 51-year-old Luque to get into a gun fight as he was still recovering from paralysis.

“A few months ago, he was physically debilitated and could not walk after he underwent intense physical struggles amid heavy enemy operations and counter-guerrilla maneuvers,” the CPP said in a statement.

The PNP said that a joint order from the Department of National Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Government offered P6 million reward for any information that would lead to Luque’s arrest.

The PNP added that Luque is a subject of four separate warrants of arrest issued by four local courts in Agusan del Sur and Agusan del Norte for kidnapping with serious illegal detention, attempted murder, and violation of the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.


On the same day, a journalist and a trade union organizer were arrested by the police in separate operations.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said Lady Ann Salem was arrested in her house in Mandaluyong City at 9am.

Salem is an editor of alternative media outfit Manila Today and communications officer of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television.

Meanwhile, union organizer Dennise Velasco was also arrested in his residence in Quezon City at 2am.

On the same day, journalist Lady Ann Salem (left) and trade union organizer Denisse Velasco (right) were arrested by the police in separate operations.

In a statement, the police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group – National Capital Region said Salem and Velasco were among the seven individuals arrested today as part of its campaign against loose firearms and criminal gangs.

The arrests were based on search warrants issued by Quezon City Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert.

Seized from Salem were .45 pistols, grenades, and ammunition, among others. An armalite, pistols, and ammunition were seized from Velasco.

However, labor group Defend Jobs Philippines claimed law enforcers planted the evidence against Velasco. It added that the arrest came a week after the reported surveillance in their head office.

"This kind of attack and harassment against trade unionists and labor rights advocates must end. We cry foul over Velasco's arrest being done in time of human rights day," said the group in a statement.

The NUJP also slammed the arrest of Salem, noting that Manila Today was one of the alternative media outfits that was red-tagged in a recent Senate hearing.

"Icy's (Salem) arrest is proof this administration is bent on silencing the independent and critical Philippine media so it can manipulate the flow of information to the detriment of our people and of our democracy," the NUJP said.

The CIDG said cases for violations of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Law and Illegal Possession of Explosives are being prepared against the arrested individuals, including Salem and Velasco.

Work and struggle required

Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo said that upholding human rights and dignity requires work and struggle for their realization.

“Upholding every person's rights and dignity does not end with token recognition, but requires work and struggle for their full realization,” she said in a statement.

“Fighting for the rights of the voiceless, the powerless, the unpopular, or even simply those on the other side of an increasingly vicious political divide, has never been more difficult, but also, never more critical,” added Robredo.