By Joey Natividad
SORSOGON CITY, 4Feb2014 (BicolToday.com) – Despite confirmed as workers by their employers, detained “buko” (coconut) factory worker Bryan Orbina Gallega still remains in police detention, considered “unjust” and a form of rights violation by human rights group Karapatan.
Vincent Casilihan, spokesperson of Karapatan-Bicol, lamented the “rebel tagging” of, and detention of Gallega by police despite confirmation by BMH Manpower Services that he and cousin Henry Orbina were employees of the firm. Orbina was shot dead allegedly by police on suspicion of being a NPA rebel and allegedly was with the rebel group which assaulted two police checkpoints near city hall.
Karapatan undertook its own investigation over the week and found out that both Orbina and Gallega, were employees of BMH Manpower Services working as nuts receivers to client company, PeterPaul Philippine Corporation in Sorsogon City. They were fired upon by elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) detailed at the PNP Outpost in Cabid-an, this city last January 31, 2014.
Orbina died instantly due to multiple gunshot wounds. Gallega was arrested , detained, and subsequently charged with two trumped-up cases at the Prosecution Service Office on allegation that a grenade and a .45 Cal. pistol were found in his possession.
However, witnesses, refuting the accusations, told Karapatan that immediately after the gunfire subsided, police officers entered the house where Bryan took temporary refuge, ascertained the number of people inside, and asked for their names. Then, they took and searched Bryan’s bag but nothing illegal was found. The police officers, however, brought Bryan to the PNP substation in Cabid-an.
At around 7:00 PM of same date, the victim was taken out of his detention cell purportedly for ballistic test. But before he was able to enter the PNP mobile car, he heard one of the police officers saying, “patayin na ‘yan (kill him)” Then, a piece of black clothe was placed on his head. Trembling in fear, he shouted that he was innocent and walked back to the PNP substation.
The rights group also learned that the police, to justify the arrest, filed two trumped-up cases against Bryan Gallega for violation of the Comprehensive Law on firearms and Ammunition (RA 1059), and violation of Explosive Law (RA 9516). [BicolToday.com]