by JOEL CALAMBA ESCOL, Managing Editor
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Two religious groups here have launched a protest against the arrest of one of its known church leaders in Mindanao.
The Mindanao Bishops Conference of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), together with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) have protested the arrest of a certain Aldeem A. Yañez by the joint elements of the military and police operatives.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) arrested Yañez on April 10, 2022 by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by the court.
The Mindanao Bishops Conference of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines has also condemned the alleged continuing church persecution highlighted by the recent devious arrest of Mr. Aldeem A. Yanez.
The church group claimed Yañez is an active IFI church worker known to many people within the ecumenical circle in advocating for a just and peaceful society.
“He grew up in a family of religious background actively participating in the life and ministry of the church, with two of his siblings serving as ordained ministers,” the group said in a statement.
According to the church leaders, Yañez was vilified for years, together with other church leaders such as the Obispo Maximo Rhee M. Timbang, Mindanao Bishops, and Lay Workers, by troll accounts using the name “Iglesia Filipina Independiente Kontra Komunista Movement”.
Together with his religious family, the ecumenical Bishops believe that it is far from the truth of him to illegally possess weapons and ammunition.
Meanwhile, during the press conference the religious groups have called on the government to stop repression and put an end to the threats both online and spatial security and to re-echo the pastoral appeals and demands of ecumenical friends, both local and abroad, for the immediate release of Aldeem Yanez.
THE ARREST OF YAÑEZ
Joint elements of the government forces in Northern Mindanao arrested a suspected finance officer of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) Northern Mindanao Regional Command.
Led by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CDEU) based in Cagayan de Oro, the arrested suspect was identified as Aldeem Abroguena Yañez, while his companion Francisco Pagayaman eluded arrest. Both were suspected members of the NPA rebels and included in an arrest warrant penned down by Judge Arthur Abundiente, executive judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 25 based in Cagayan de Oro City. The search warrant against the two suspects was dated April 6, 2022, it was learned.
Confiscated from the arrested suspect included the following:
a. One (1) unit colt automatic caliber .45 with serial number 81376 United States Property
M1911A1 inserted magazine with Six (6) live Cartridges;
b. One (1) unit Hand Fragmentation Grenade with serial number LOIPPRB7;
c. Two (2) pcs. ID for COMELEC Voters ID and Covid-19 Vaccination Card name by
YAÑEZ, ALDEEM A.;
d. One (1) pc brown envelop with markings “BKOP 2020” Batakang Kursong Pang-Opisyal
sa Platon, containing subversive documents;
e. One (1) sling bag color Brown;
f. One (1) unit Hand Fragmentary M84;
g. One (1) unit RD 40mm DP M911A1 Rifle Grenade;
h. One (1) unit Rifle Grenade;
i. One (1) small cartoon box;
j. One (1) pc Covid Vaccination Card named by PAGAYAMAN FRANCISCO S.;
k. One (1) Black sling bag HANDYCAM Brand;
l. Four (4) pcs. Draft documents with NPA LOGO; and
m. Two (2) pcs. Sim cards of Talk N Txt (TNT) and Touch Mobile (TM).
Initial investigation disclosed that the arrested suspect Aldeem Yañez, alias Wespy, was the Finance Officer of RWAC-NCMR, while Francisco Pagayaman, alias Iko, Ben, Liyab was the chairman and spokesperson of Kadamay in Northern Mindanao.
According to the CIDG, the search that was conducted inside the house was in accordance with law and it was also done in a very orderly manner.
It was witnessed by the house owner and two other Barangay Officials namely Barangay Kag Eddie Zambas and Brgy Kag Limuel Enerio.
The actual search, led by CIDG Northern Mindanao, was also participated by the members of Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bulua PS-7, CIDG RSOT and Canine Unit 10. ###