Palace: No ‘evidence-planting’ in progressive groups’ offices raided by cops
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has denied a human rights group’s allegation that authorities planted evidence during raids in offices of progressive organizations in Bacolod City, Negros Oriental last week.
Some 57 individuals were arrested and high-powered firearms were allegedly seized in regional offices of militant groups based on four search warrants issued by a Quezon City judge.
But human rights group Karapatan on Sunday decried authorities’ alleged planting of evidence during the joint police and military raids, calling the operations as “prelude to an intensified crackdown” against activists, progressives and critics of the Duterte administration.
However, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said authorities “adhered to the rule of law” and the operations were backed by proper documents.
“We condemn the allegations of evidence-planting in their underground offices. The government has strictly adhered to the rule of law. Search warrants were secured before the joint operations by the local police and the military were conducted,” Andanar said in a statement Tuesday.
The Palace official also said they expect Karapatan’s allegations of harassment as it has “no weapons to fight the clean, legitimate, and precise raid against communist terrorists.”
He also repudiated the group’s claim that the operations were handled “Gestapo-like, as no individuals were harmed during the operation.”
“Karapatan’s unsubstantiated claims prove nothing but their desperation,” he said.
The human rights group earlier questioned the search warrant issued by Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 89 “whose jurisdiction does not even fall on a city hundreds of miles away from Quezon City.”
Burgos-Villavert also issued the search warrants that led to the arrest of Gabriela Metro Manila spokesperson Cora Agovida and her husband, Kadamay Metro Manila campaign officer Mickael Tan Bartolome, in Manila earlier the same day, the group noted.
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