Ilocos rights and environmental activist arrested for ‘rebellion’

December 13, 2017 - 9:04 AM
A photo of Sherwin de Vera from his Facebook page

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — A known human rights and environmental activist in the Ilocos region was arrested by police Tuesday evening, December 12, as he was commuting home on rebellion charges he was supposed to have committed back in 2014.

Sherwin De Vera, regional coordinator of Defend-Ilocos Network for the Environment and convener of Amianan Salakniban, informed colleagues through text that he was traveling from Candon to Bantay, Ilocos Sur “nang mag-checkpoint sa tapat mismo ng Provincial Police Office sa (when we were stopped at a checkpoin in front of the Provincial Police Office in) Brgy. Bulag, Bantay Ilocos Sur.”

Umakyat ang PNP element sa bus at nilapitan ako. Pulis ng Bantay. Medrano ang apelyido (A policeman climbed onto the bus and approached me. A policeman from Bantay. With the family name Medrano),” De Vera, who also writes a column for the community paper Northern Dispatch, said in the text.

Sinabi na iniimbitahan ako. Sinabi ko na sasama lang ako kung may warrant sila. Pinilit akong pababain sa bus. Kaya nag-ingay na ako. Sinabi ko na aktibista ako at regional coordinator ng Defend Ilocos. Saka lang nagsabi na may warrant ako,” he added.

(He said I was being invited. I said I would come only if they had a warrant. He tried to force me off the bus. I made noise. I said I am an activist and regional coordinator of Defend Ilocos. Only then did he say there was a warrant for me).

But De Vera told his colleagues that he was only show the warrant and not provided a copy.

He said he demanded that his bag be searched on the bus so his fellow passengers could witness it.

He was then was dragged outside the us and handcuffed then taken to the police station. Only then did he manage to read the arrest warrant dated September 4, 2014 for a rebellion case filed in Abra.

De Vera was later brought to Camp Elpidio Quirino in Bantay. He is expected to be taken to Abra and presented before the court Wednesday morning.