DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/06 January) — The New People’s Army guerrilla arrested on New Year’s Day in Toril District here said he wanted to be taken out of his detention at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) so that he can answer the charges against him in court.
Assisted by his lawyers, Edwin Brigano, asked the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 3 in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley—where he was facing rebellion charges—to intervene and order the CIDG to deliver him in court and protect his rights under the Constitution.
Brigano filed the manifestation and urgent motion on January 4, or three days after his arrest. He claimed that the police who detained him showed “no intention to deliver him in court.”
He further claimed that he has been subjected to “psychological harassment” by the military while under police detention, a claim that the 10th Infantry Division denied. “Wala kaming alam diyan (we don’t know anything about it),” said Lt. Col. Medel Aguilar, 10th ID spokesperson. He said the military will only answer Brigano’s allegations in court.
Brigano also alleged that during his arrest, he was not shown any warrant and was not informed of his rights under the law when he was delivered to the CIDG office in Camp Leonor, where he has been kept since January 1.
Brigano, who was also facing double frustrated homicide and robbery with homicide cases at the RTC Branch 6 in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, briefly talked to reporters Wednesday during the visit by relatives who had not seen him in 32 years.
‘We thought he was dead’
Virginia Espina and Dolores Perecairo said Brigano disappeared from his brother’s farm in Casoon, Monkayo town in Compostela Valley in 1978. He had not been heard of since, so his family presumed he was already dead.
Espina said they did not immediately recognize him when they heard the news on television because he was still very young when he left.
“I heard my daughter calling me when she saw him on TV,” said Espina, 54, who is only a year older than Brigano.
“My daughter said, ‘Ma, he looked just like Uncle (referring to Brigano’s younger brother), only that his name was different,’” said Espina in Cebuano.
“I stopped what I was doing and watched and could not believe what I saw,” she added. “It was so long ago he already looked different.”
She said she was surprised to hear his name because the whole family, including his mother, already thought he was dead.
“He never showed up nor communicated with us,” Espina said, her eyes welling with tears. “His mother did not come with us (to Camp Leonor) because she was heartbroken. She can’t believe her son only left without a word and went to live somewhere without even bothering to communicate with her.”
She said Brigano was still young when he was asked to take care of his elder brother’s farm in Casoon. “He used to live with his elder brother and was later asked to till his farm in Casoon, when he suddenly disappeared without even a parting word to us.”
“He was gone for so long,” she said. “Who would have thought he was still alive? He didn’t tell us anything where he was going. He never even sent any sign he was still alive.” (Germelina Lacorte/Mindanews).