ZAMBOANGA CITY – A university professor, who was captured and accused by the military as a communist rebel, faces multiple cases of illegal possession of weapons and explosives, and frustrated murder, an army spokesman said Friday.
Troops captured Professor Kim Gargar who was wounded in a recent clash in Davao Oriental’s Cateel town. An automatic rifle was also recovered from him in the village of Aliwagwag where troops also killed a rebel leader of the New People’s Army (NPA).
“Gargar is now charged with illegal possession of explosives and firearms, violation of Comelec gun ban and multiple frustrated murders,” said Capt. Alberto Caber of the Eastern Mindanao Command.
He said the criminal charges against Gargar, who belongs to the NPA Platoon Front 25, have been filed in court in Mati town in Davao Oriental province.
Caber said Gargar told military interrogators he joined the NPA last year, but previously helped Sison in the production of several books aimed at exploiting villagers in the countryside.
Gargar was a Physics professor at the University of the Philippines and also taught at the Don Mariano University in Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental and Polytechnic University and Mapua University, both in Manila. He was doctorate scholar in University of Groningen in The Netherlands, according to Caber.
The human rights group Karapatan said Gargar’s arrest and detention was illegal, and that he was wrongfully accused by the military.
“To throw Professor Kim Gargar in jail on trumped up charges because he wanted to help the (Typhoon) Pablo victims in rehabilitating and developing their communities is not only violating his rights but is also injustice to the communities he is assisting. Professor Gargar should be immediately released,” said Cristina Palabay, the group’s Secretary General.
Gargar, who is a member of the Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan (Alliance of Groups Supporting Science and Technology for the People), is helping in humanitarian efforts to restore the communities ravaged by the typhoon in Mindanao.
“The illegal arrest and detention of Gargar is yet another desperate move by the Aquino government to suppress the people’s collective action towards meaningful change,” Palabay said.
The communist NPA has been fighting for a separate state in the country.