On 2006 February 14, a group of 11 anarcho-punks from across the Philippines set out on a trip to Sagada, a well-known camping and hiking spot in the mountains of Northern Luzon. They knew each other through groups like Food not Bombs and Earth First!.
Police stopped the truck they were hitching a ride on, and ordered the group to get down at gunpoint. Without any explanation, the police detained the 11 travellers, kicked, beat, manacled, and blindfolded them, and confiscated their belongings. None of the punks had any idea why they had been detained, until hours after their arrest, when a cafgu (member of regional paramilitary group) arrived at the station. He identified the punks as members of a guerrilla force that conducted an arms raid on a military outpost on February 10, which resulted in the deaths of four soldiers and cafgus. This was the first the punks had heard about the attack, and they denied the charges, pointing out that they were in a diffferent region when the attack occurred, and had no involvement with guerrilla groups like the New People's Army.
In reponse to their denials the police, joined by military and cafgus, brutally physically, and psychologically tortured the detainees. They were beaten, electrocuted, stripped naked and had water poured over them, had water forced down their throats to simulate drowning, were suffocated with plastic bags, told their companions had been shot, made to stand in holes the size of graves and subjected to mock executions, and forced to sign false confessions. Fortunately, on the night of February 15, on of the prisoners, Rundren Lao, was able to escape, jumping into a ravine and fleeing police fire, and alerted people to their whereabouts before being turned back in to the police.
On February 16, the punks were formally charged with arson and murder, and transferred to Benguet Provincial Jail in La Trinidad. In April, a change in national law shielding minors from prosecution led to the release of the two youngest, Lester Mendoza, 16, and Francess Ann Bernal, 15. The other nine remain in prison. Their trial has been indefinitely postponed.
All of the prisoners read at least some English, and they are very interested in connecting with other anarchists, learning about punk and activism, as well as daily life, around the world. Gig posters and photos, flyers, stickers, patches and shirts would also be very well received. Bear in mind though, that they are accused of being communist guerillas and overtly political material could be used against them.
- Darwin Alagar
- Rundren Lao
- Jefferson Dela Rosa
- Metro Villegracia
- Neil Russel Balajadia
- Ronron Pandino
- Arvie Nunez
- Aldous Christian Mafosa
- Anderson Alonzo
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|This article is based on a public domain article in Freedom, Anarchist Fortnightly article published on 2006 November 4||F-@f|