FIRST, OUR family extends our sincerest gratitude to all the people who helped us throughout this ordeal. Indeed, there is power in the people united.
Margarita “Gingging” Valle was released on Sunday (June 9) after approximately 12 hours of detention and walked out of Camp Abelon in Pagadian City at 11:18 in the evening accompanied by friends, human rights workers, and church people. She is now safe but she will need to undergo physical check-up and debriefing as soon as possible.
Our mother’s ordeal in the hands of CIDG was a clear example of the vicious pattern of state forces of attacks against journalists, dissenters and human rights defenders, the wanton disregard for the rule of law justified by the current Martial Law in Mindanao. Gingging’s case is not one of mistaken identity at all. She was a clear state target. Mistaken identity is but a ludicrous propaganda of the PNP in the advent of the public outrage and pressure to surface and release our Nanay Gingging.
In violation of her fundamental rights, Gingging was arrested and remained incommunicado for about eight hours. She was not allowed to be assisted by counsel, to be appraised of the charges against her and to examine the purported warrant/s that was made the basis of her arrest. Worse, at 61 years old, she was made to undergo such physical, emotional and psychological anguish without due regard and consideration to her health condition.
Further, that the arrest was made based on an alleged report received by CIDG Pagadian that one Elsa Renton and Fidelina Margarita Valle are one and the same, is an old familiar tune. In 2016, Amelia Pond, then 63 years old and a worker of RMP, was arrested by CIDG 7 in Cebu City by virtue of a warrant of arrest against one Adelfa Toledo. After more than one year of incarceration and a spine surgery, Amelia Pond was released upon testimony of the complainants themselves that she is not the accused in the case.
Our mother, Gingging is part of the growing number of human rights workers and defenders, journalists, Lumads, peasants and workers who have been targeted for their stand against the countless state-sponsored human rights violations, especially in Mindanao.
No stones should be left unturned and the police officers involved should be held accountable for this heinous incident. We are carefully studying all possible remedies against those responsible for this incident. Let us all remain vigilant. We should remain firm and steadfast in our struggle for our fundamental rights and freedoms.
Our family, along with countless others who decry what clearly was a human rights violation, demand justice for Nanay Gingging Valle. Because state terror wins only when fear rules over people. We will not be silenced.
(Family statement on the illegal arrest and detention of our Nanay Margarita Valle, dated June 11, 2019)