HomeNewsCourt junks terror charges vs. Batangas rights defender for lack of evidence

Court junks terror charges vs. Batangas rights defender for lack of evidence

Terror charges against human rights defender and Tanggol Batangan Spokesperson Hailey Pecayo were dismissed on November 20 due to insufficiency of evidence.

According to Southern Tagalog-based human rights group, Defend Southern Tagalog (Defend ST), the Office of the City Prosecutor in Santa Rosa, Laguna dismissed the five cases filed against Pecayo.

The resolution was based on five complaints against Pecayo on two counts of violation of sections 4(a) and 4(d) of the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020, two counts of violations of the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, and attempted murder.

Testimonies were aimed at branding Pecayo and others as combatants of the New People’s Army.

In a press statement, Defend ST said that these allegations were also employed to accuse Kenneth Rementilla and Jasmin Rubia of Anti-Terrorism Law violations. The charges were filed after the two joined Pecayo in investigating the 59th Infantry Battalion’s alleged involvement in the killing of nine-year-old Kyllene Casao and farmer Maximino Digno in Batangas.

“Since Pecayo’s cases were dismissed, we are expecting the decision (to dismiss) Rementilla and Rubia’s case as soon as possible,” said Charm Maranan, Defend Southern Tagalog spokesperson

Defend ST said Pecayo’s case is the tip of the iceberg, with 19 other activists and farmers in the region facing similar charges. Pecayo, echoing the organization’s stance, appealed for truth and justice to prevail.

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Defend ST warned of a “time of reckoning,” vowing to expose what they view as the inhumane war against the people waged by LTC Ernesto Teneza, the 59th IB, the 2nd Infantry Division, and the Marcos Jr. administration.

“The fight for justice is not over, the dismissal of Hailey’s case is proof that no matter what lies the state forces may fabricate, the truth will always prevail,” said Maranan.

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