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Rebels free Protestant church worker

Communist group attacks van carrying 'victim of miscarriage of justice'

Human rights groups outside the gates of the national police headquarters Human rights groups outside the gates of the national police headquarters
  • Kerima Bulan Navales
  • Philippines
  • July 22, 2011
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Communist guerillas yesterday freed a detained Protestant church worker accused by the military of being a member of the rebel movement.

The rebels attacked the vehicle transporting Dennis Rodenas near Kitaotao, in Bukidnon province, freeing the church worker and capturing four guards.

He was being transported from Ozamiz in Misamis Occidental province to a penal farm in the southern city of Davao.

Isabel Santiago, a spokesperson of the New People's Army (NPA), said Rodenas was falsely accused.

"Like many, he is a victim of an unjust judicial system," she said.

"He was arbitrarily convicted by a government court based on false and fabricated charges which relied on evidence planted by the military," she added.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines which has been waging a Maoist-style insurgency against the government for more than 40 years.

Rodenas was a lay worker for the United Church of Christ of the Philippines.

Bishop Constante Claro of the church’s Southern Mindanao Jurisdiciton said Rodenas is not a rebel and was only involved in church ecological and environmental projects.

Rodenas was arrested in Tangub City in July 2009 for allegedly being in possession of bomb components, and was later turned over to the military.
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