Detained labor leader Isidro Castillo yesterday slammed the police and military for his arrest on Saturday, stressing that he was not accorded due process, and dismissed his inclusion in the murder charge, as purely fabricated by the authorities.
Castillo, alias Gesnar, was apprehended Saturday by combined police and military intelligence operatives in Brgy. 12, Bacolod City, by virtue of an arrest warrant for the crime of murder. He was also denied bail by the court.
The arrested suspect was implicated in the ambush-slay of then 1Lt. Archie Polenzo in March 7, 2010 in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, that was perpetrated by suspected New People's Army rebels.
Castillo vehemently debunked the accusations against him, stressing that he was in the company of Bacolod Bishop Emeritus Vicente Navarra and several other priests, including Fathers Aniceto Buenafe and Ernie Larida, of the Diocese of Bacolod on that day, discussing the illegal quarry operations in Brgy. Alangilan, Bacolod Ciy.
The authorities alleged that Castillo was a former secretary of Larangan Gerilya 2 of the Komiteng Rehiyonal Negros. They further claimed that Castillo served as a member of the Regional White Area Committee of KR-Negros, and as spokesman of the National Federation of Sugarcane Workers.
During a dialog between Bishop Navarra and military officials, Castillo claimed that he was cleared by then Colonels (Oscar) Lactao and (Jon) Aying in the ambush of Lt. Polenso, who also advised him to file a petition for the dismissal of his case.
He also noted that the warrant of arrest against him stated that he is single, and does not contain his middle name. On the contrary, Castillo told DYHB Tatak RMN, that he is married and has grandchildren.
Stressing also that he is not a member of the New People's Army, Castillo, 66, said he believes that his arrest has something to do with the order of President Rodrigo Duterte for the crackdown on progressive groups who are very vocal against his administration.
Castillo, who admitted to have been the NFSW secretary general from 2008 to 2011, is now detained at the Bacolod City Police Station 1 custodial facility.
Duterte signed in December last year a proclamation declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army as terrorist organizations. He also tagged militant and progressive groups as legal fronts of communist rebels.
Bayan-Negros and Karapatan-Negros have slammed the continued vicious attacks against progressive groups in the country by the administration of Duterte.
Bayan Negros secretary-general Christian Tuayon said Castillo had been inactive from the NFSW for several years now.
Castillo, who had been an organizer of NFSW since 1970s, is now connected with Task Force Kasanag headed by John Chiong, with retired police officials among the members.* GPB
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