Rights group Karapatan called for the release of an elderly human rights defender who was arrested by the police in the town of Pakil, Laguna province, on June 11.
“We call for the immediate release of Daisy Macapanpan, a victim of warrantless arrest and unjust detention based on false charges,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.
Palabay said the arrest and charges leveled against Macapanpan are “reprisals on her advocacy work for the environment and her community.”
Macapanpan, 69, was arrested by combined elements of the police, the Army, and the Air Force.
In a statement, Karapatan said the elderly activist is “a victim of the state’s crackdown against activists.”
Witnesses said Macapanpan was dragged, handcuffed, and forced inside a police vehicle in full view of residents even as the police and the military did not present any warrant during the arrest.
The activist was later charged with several counts of rebellion for an incident that happened in Infanta in Quezon province.
“This alias warrant on rebellion charges filed in 2008 against Macapanpan was used against other activists in Southern Tagalog,” said Palabay.
She said the rebellion case, filed before the Regional Trial Court Branch 65 in Infanta, Quezon, was the same case leveled against peasant organizer Dana Marcellana, daughter of peasant leader Orly Marcellana, and slain human rights worker Eden Marcellana, who was arrested last year.
“At this rate, this rebellion charge may be used repeatedly against activists in Southern Tagalog as the government continues its harassment against activists and government critics,” said Palabay.
Macapanpan is a former professor, media practitioner, and cultural worker.
In recent years, she has actively campaigned against the Kaliwa Kanan Laiban Dam project in the Sierra Madre, which is said to affect communities in Laguna, Quezon, and Rizal provinces.
She is also involved in the campaign against the construction of the 1400MW Ahunan/Pakil Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Plant on top of the mountain in Pakil, Laguna, which is part of the watershed of the Sierra Madre mountain range.