The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women decried the abduction of Joyna Labacio Sabanal, wife of political prisoner Roger Sabanal. On January 6, 2022, Joyna was abducted in broad daylight in Fortune Town, Bacolod City. According to a report from September 21 Movement South Negros, Sabanal was able to send text messages asking for help before contact was lost. Her texts narrate her abduction, carried out by three unidentified persons including one woman. She also said that her abductors placed a handkerchief doused with an unknown substance on her face.

“We stand with Joyna’s family and friends in their call for her safe and immediate surfacing,” said Amihan National Chairperson Zenaida Soriano. “Red-tagging and programs such as Duterte’s Oplan Sauron have cultivated a growing culture of violence across the country. This violence is not only suffered by peasants, activists, and political prisoners, but also their families and loved ones. We reiterate the call to stop the attacks, especially against marginalized sectors who are most vulnerable to the worst of it.”

Prior to Sabanal’s abduction, she received several death threats through messages and calls. She is currently still missing. There are no updates on her whereabouts, as of this writing.

Her husband, Roger, is a peasant farmer who was illegally arrested during the height of the implementation of Duterte’s Memorandum Order No. 32 (also known as Oplan Sauron) in Negros Island, Bicol, and Samar. He remains detained on trumped-up charges.

“We urge all freedom-loving Filipinos, women advocates, civil society groups, and netizens to support the call to surface Joyna Labacio Sabanal. Moreover, urging the Commission on Human Rights and the House Committee on Human Rights to conduct an immediate investigation on the abduction of Sabanal and hold the perpetrators accountable,” Soriano ended. ###

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