News Release I Peace caravan alarmed at fabricated case filed against delegates, fears mass arrest

In an attempt to disrupt the peace caravan launched by the Save Bondoc Peninsula Movement (SBPM), a fabricated robbery case was filed against human rights advocates including Darwin Bonrostro, former secretary-general of human rights group Karapatan-Quezon.

Said peace caravan commenced last 25 June to document the cases of human rights abuses against the residents of Quezon and provide social services including psycho-social intervention to children victims.

Catanauan police in Quezon allegedly filed a robbery case against Bonrostro and nine others.

The case specified that the suspects attacked a certain Alex Baronia, member of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Catanauan, Quezon and accused Bonrostro and the others to have robbed Baronia his bags and belongings.

“Such move has caused fears of mass arrest of the delegates of the mercy mission”, said Orly Marcellana, SBPM spokesperson.  “The accusation was clearly fabricated as Bonrostro was distributing relief goods when the incident happened,” added Marcella.

He said that Baronia, suspected to be an intelligence agent of the military, was caught taking photograph of the SBPM volunteers while distributing relief goods at the Catanauan public market. Marcellana clarified that SBPM volunteers confronted [Baronia] but he panicked and just ran away leaving his bag on the ground”.

“The trumped-up charge filed against Bonrostro is not new as it has always been used by the government to vilify activists and their critics,” Marcellana added. “We fear that this act will become precedent to sabotage our peace caravan and, worse, justify the mass arrest of our leaders and volunteers.”

SBPM, an alliance of concerned people and human rights advocates including church people and professionals has launched the peace caravan to condemn the massive deployment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in South Quezon and Bondoc Peninsula which has consequently led to an escalating number of human rights violations in the areas. To date, the military has deployed eight battalions stationed at the houses, elementary schools and village offices in the locality.

“The group is set to continue the peace caravan and mercy mission in Lopez, Quezon today despite threats and harassment,” Marcellana said


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