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10 June 2019

Let us call a spade a spade. The supposed “arrest” on Sunday of Davao Today columnist Fidelina Margarita Valle in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental was not a lawful operation but a criminal abduction of a journalist.

Valle, a veteran community journalist and development worker, was arrested by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 9 at 10:30 a.m. Sunday while waiting for her flight home to Davao City.

She was forcibly taken using a warrant of arrest issued against Elsa Renton alias Tina Maglaya and Fidelina Margarita Valle.

Renton, an alleged communist party member, has standing warrants of arrest for arson and multiple murder with quadruple frustrated murder and damage to government property.

Valle was released at around 8:45 p.m., after nine hours of detention in Pagadian City, about 200 kilometers away from Laguindingan Airport.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines strongly condemns Valle’s abduction and the CIDG’s violation of her basic rights.

How else do authorities explain why Ms. Valle was held incommunicado for hours even as the police issued a statement saying she was facing multiple crimes from a decade ago, only to admit they had the wrong person?

This is the equivalent of “shoot now, ask questions later.”

And the truth is that Ms. Valle’s abduction could have had dire, even fatal, consequences. There is no lack of victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances to drive home this point.

We demand that the police and military personnel involved in this inexcusable travesty and their superiors be prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

National Directorate

Hotline: +639175155991