Illegal search by the PNP-SAF, CIDG in Sitio Kitbog, Sarangani Province left fear and anxiety among residents

Illegal search by the PNP-SAF, CIDG in Sitio Kitbog, Sarangani Province left fear and anxiety among residents

SITIO Kitbog, Malungon, Sarangani Province, is a quiet place where some of our indigenous brothers and sisters reside.

Peaceful and serene.

But, on June 10, around three o’clock in the morning, armed members of the Philippine National Police – Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) shattered and disrupted the peaceful community of indigenous people in Sitio Buyo-Buyo and Biyangan – areas outside the Kingdom of Jesus Christ Compound, communities that should not have been raided.

They knocked and forced residents out of their homes, including children and elderly individuals with illnesses, causing them intense fear.

B’laan dies due to fear caused by the PNP SAF, CIDG raid in Kitbog, Sarangani Province

Due to the incident, one IP family was severely affected by the tragic experience of the armed law enforcers. One day after the raid by the PNP SAF and CIDG, the father of a B’laan tribesman passed away.

According to his sibling, after the armed law enforcers arrived at their father’s house, he experienced fear. He shook uncontrollably to the point where he could no longer eat.

“The next day after the police arrived, when morning came, they were still there in the morning, so I made him coffee and biscuits. He didn’t want to drink the coffee, so I asked him, “what’s wrong, Dad?” he kept shaking. I asked him, “what’s wrong, Dad?” he said, “I’m scared.”  I told him, “why are you scared? They won’t touch you.”

“He said maybe they would find Pastor. I told him, they won’t find him, Dad. It’s impossible for them to find him. So, he didn’t eat after that. Two days later, by 8 in the evening, he was gone,” according to the child of the deceased B’laan in Kitbog.

According to the family of the deceased, they were shown no mercy, as heavy firearms were displayed, and the elderly even sick residents were forced out of their homes, causing their father to experience intense fear and shock, which they claimed caused his death.

“But I’m suspicious about that because after that, that’s when my dad died. When the police came. I kept thinking before the police came, he was still eating well, drinking coffee, talking. He’d say, “Coffee. Don’t you have coffee?” he’d keep asking for coffee, but when the police came, he didn’t ask for coffee anymore. I thought, if they hadn’t come here, my Dad would have been okay. After that, he seemed really scared, he was scared,”  according to Kuya William, child of the deceased B’laan in Kitbog.

Furthermore, they cannot accept the injustice that was committed against them. Still, because of the teachings and preaching of Pastor Apollo, they decided it would be better to remain silent.

“So, the old man kept saying, he seemed stressed or scared. So, he didn’t last even two days, he only lasted two days (after the incident), and then he didn’t eat anymore. He didn’t drink coffee anymore. He didn’t do anything anymore because it seemed to affect him… His sleep was good before, but he woke up because of their entry into the houses during that time. They were in full battle gear with guns! Not just regular guns! Huge ammunition! So many! That’s why I said, I was really disappointed. I told my siblings, “if we weren’t in the Kingdom and, things like this happen to us, we will not back down. [but] because of Pastor, we’ve changed, we know how to respect, we know how to speak about what we should do according to what the Appointed Son planted in our hearts, we’ll do it.”

“I said, “they’re messing with our honor. But whatever they do, we won’t get involved in that kind of thing… We’ll just be humble.” that’s what I told them,” he said.

As if this was not enough, after their father’s death, his wife was hospitalized.

“That’s right. That is another point. My wife is another one. At that time, I made coffee for the soldiers, I made coffee for them; she was the one heating up the water in the kitchen. She kept telling me, “why is this happening to us?”

 “It means, she was scared. It means, my wife was scared at that time. Why were we entered, why did they ransack our whole house when we didn’t do anything wrong, we didn’t do anything, we didn’t have a record in any place, we didn’t have a record. That’s why I asked myself, “why is this happening? Because of the goodness of Pastor, why is Pastor the one being persecuted? Pastor is being treated this way and we’re even included?”

“Sometimes I can say, “ah, this is just a trial of our faith.”

“Especially now, my dad hasn’t even been buried yet, and then my wife had a stroke,” he added.

He couldn’t understand why this was happening or what they did to deserve this from those who should have protected their community. He added that they didn’t violate any laws to deserve what they experienced.

“Yes. They entered all the houses in our small community. That’s why I was disappointed and I said, “what did we do wrong to the government that they’re treating us this way? They didn’t have any authorization to do this to us, to inspect the inside of our houses. We don’t have any record in the barangay. We don’t have any record in our town or in our community. Why are they treating my family this way?” he stated.

Meanwhile, one of the legal counsels of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ confirmed the illegality of the actions carried out by the PNP SAF and CIDG against the IP community.

“Okay, first of all, I want to ask: Did they show these houses that they have a search warrant? Because if they did not show a search warrant, then they had no authority to ask people to leave their homes and enter to search. And if they made people leave and asked them if they knew where Pastor was at 4 am, then that is already coming under interrogation. Why are they asking such questions if they had no search warrant against these people? For each house they entered, that is again a violation, one count per violation. So, if they entered ten houses, that is ten violations. Because, again, we go back to the constitutional provision: everyone has the right to remain secure in their homes against unreasonable searches and seizures,” according to Atty. Dinah Tolentino-Fuentes, KOJC Legal Counsel.

He stated that if there was anything he could do, he would seek justice not only for his family but also for his fellow indigenous people who also experienced trauma because of what happened.

“What I can say about what they did to us… If only I could do something, I would file a case against them. Even though I’m like this, I’ll look for help so I can file a case against them for what they did to me, when I wasn’t even involved in the case of other people. That’s my plan. That’s what entered my mind. I’ll file a case against them, including the children they took out, who were shivering early in the morning because of fear. My nephews and nieces upstairs, even the siblings you saw in the video, are really terrified because of them. Her voice, sounded like she was crying as she spoke because of her fear, why are there soldiers, why is it like this? We didn’t do anything wrong,” he added.

The illegal search operations conducted by the PNP SAF and CIDG not only show their disregard for the rights of peaceful indigenous Filipinos but also prove the current government’s weakness and lack of justice.


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