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Report on human rights abuses sent to high court

/ 04:37 AM May 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Human rights defenders, together with other victims of red-tagging and trumped-up charges by the state, will submit on Tuesday a report to the Supreme Court on urgent human rights violations that need immediate judicial intervention, as attacks against them intensified in the past weeks.

The groups urged the high court to strengthen the writs of amparo and habeas data to include a temporary protection order against red-tagging, among others.

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They also asked the SC justices to put in place safeguards against abuses in the application and implementation of search and arrest warrants, which have been weaponized to target political dissidents, activists and human rights workers.

Such safeguards, they stressed, should prevent the planting of evidence and extrajudicial killings, and the filing of trumped-up charges.

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Because being a communist by itself is not a crime, many rights groups believe the state has taken to fabricating criminal charges that imply that they are rebels and therefore terrorists.

Many political prisoners are currently facing nonbailable charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives, some of which were issued by so-called “warrant factories” in Manila and Quezon City.

The submission by rights groups Karapatan, Bayan, Allliance of Concerned Teachers, Courage, and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, among others, follow the SC’s en banc statement recognizing the attacks against members of the court.

These include the assault on lawyer AK Guillen and the red-tagging of Mandaluyong Judge Monique Quisumbing-Ignacio after she dismissed charges of illegal firearms and explosives possession against journalist Lady Ann Salem and trade unionist Rodrigo Esparago

According to Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, the groups’ submission — written with assistance from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers — will detail recent search warrant operations as well as the profiling of activists and peasant leaders targeted by the government’s anti-insurgency program.

These attacks, they argue, are propped up by the controversial anti-terror bill now being contested before the high tribunal for its alleged unconstitutional provisions.

Palabay said the groups believe that the SC was “in a position to institutionalize safeguards and prevent further injury to human rights defenders and their lawyers.”

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TAGS: red-tagging, rights abuses, Supreme Court
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