Fake cases against activists and government critics abound, human rights group Karapatan decried.
Worse, “the Duterte regime is poised to intensify its practice of filing trumped-up charges against leaders and members of progressive organizations as a means to intimidate and harass them,” the human rights group’s deputy secretary general Roneo Clamor said, adding, “at least 145 more political prisoners are incident various jails in the country.”
Karapatan blamed the justice department as the administration’s conduit in what Palabay called, “a form of harassment” which “churns out lie after lie against those perceived by the Duterte government as its enemies.”
Alarm has been sounded earlier by Karapatan on activists, human rights defenders and members of progressive organizations being arrested by virtue of warrants issued by regional trial courts in the Caraga region. Among them, Clamor said, “is Marklen Maojo Maga, an organizer of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) who was arrested based on charges of murder for alleged incidents in Agusan del Norte and illegal possession of firearms and explosives. The victim, however, has never set foot in the Caraga region, as he also vehemently asserts that the evidence against him was planted.”
Clamor added, “this is a disturbing trend. Courts in the Caraga region have become a factory of warrants of arrests to justify trumped-up cases. This is indicative of the collusion of the DOJ, the police and the military to specifically target local leaders active in various campaigns. At this rate, mass leaders and members of progressive groups in different parts of the country could be arrested by virtue of warrants implicating them in alleged incidents in various provinces where they have never even been to! What a travesty of justice,” Clamor added, citing the arrest of Benito Quilloy and Rita Espinoza in Negros Occidental on October 19, 2017 and brothers Joshua and Randy Guyo in Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur on May 23, 2017–all through warrants issued by courts in Agusan del Sur.”
Karapatan also raised the proscription petition filed by the DOJ to qualify the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization, noting that this will merely give the government a free pass to arrest those alleged by Duterte as legal fronts of the CPP.
“There is really an intensified and concerted effort to repress legal progressive organizations. With Duterte’s counterinsurgency program in tow, the Inter Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA), and now the proscription petition, this crackdown is starting to take shape — revealing a chorus and collusion of government bodies and agencies. All this, of course, is carefully designed to be legitimized by courts to hide the fact that these charges are fabricated,” the Karapatan official also said.
Clamor denounced the administration for “taking its legal offensive a notch higher, using everything in its arsenal to silence resistance. To the DOJ and state instruments, we remind you not to renege further on your obligations to the people and truly work for justice.” ”This means prosecuting the true murderers and human rights violators littered within the government, foremost the military and its Commander-in-Chief, and other state security forces,” Clamor claimed. ACE ALEGRE / ABN
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