HomeNewsRights group calls for deeper look into military’s reprisals vs. rights defenders

Rights group calls for deeper look into military’s reprisals vs. rights defenders

Defend Southern Tagalog, a Southern Tagalog-based human rights alliance, has welcomed the recent dismissal of a motion against rights defenders Ken Rementilla and Jasmin Rubia by the Antipolo City Prosecutor.

The motion for reconsideration, filed by Sgt. Jean Claude Bajaro of the 59th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, was denied on January 25, 2024.

The Antipolo City Prosecutor’s office found that the motion “did not raise any new issue or evidence” and “did not submit any other material evidence during the preliminary investigation.”

In a press statement, Defend Southern Tagalog said that the accusations against Rementilla, Rubia, and other human rights defenders in the region are based on mass-produced affidavits and are seen as desperate moves by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to discredit human rights work.

This dismissal comes amid a series of similar cases, including the recent fabricated arson case against film director Jade Castro and his colleagues in Mulanay, Quezon.

The group said that the 59th Infantry Battalion has been accused of being the top perpetrator of human rights violations in Batangas.

The complaints against Rementilla and Rubia stemmed from their involvement in a fact-finding mission on the deaths of farmer Maximino Digno and minor Kyllene Casao, who were allegedly killed by the 59th IBPA.

- Newsletter -

Defend Southern Tagalog has criticized the AFP for its crackdown on critics and human rights defenders, citing the replacement of the 59th IBPA’s former commander, Lt. Col. Ernesto Teneza Jr, with Lt. Col. Bruce Tokong, who has continued harassment of the mass movement and critics under the 2nd Civil Military Operations Battalion.

Despite these challenges, Defend Southern Tagalog remains committed to defending human rights and civil liberties, calling for the accountability of notorious rights violators.

“We urge authorities to investigate deeper into the actions of the 59th Infantry Battalion and other military units in the region to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and the promotion of justice and accountability,” said Charm Maranan, spokesperson of Defend Southern Tagalog.

“We remain that these accusations against Rementilla, and other human rights defenders in the region are rife with lies from mass-produced affidavits, and are only desperate moves by the AFP to save face as they fall flat in maligning and vilifying human rights work at the expense of public funds,” Maranan added.

This article was first published by Bulatlat.com

© Copyright LiCAS.news. All rights reserved. Republication of this article without express permission from LiCAS.news is strictly prohibited. For republication rights, please contact us at: [email protected]

Support LiCAS.news

We work tirelessly each day to tell the stories of those living on the fringe of society in Asia and how the Church in all its forms - be it lay, religious or priests - carries out its mission to support those in need, the neglected and the voiceless.
We need your help to continue our work each day. Make a difference and donate today.