In this June 12, 2018 photo, protesters shout slogans as they are pushed back by police after heckling Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at the 120th Philippine Independence Day celebration at the Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine at Kawit, Cavite province south of Manila, Philippines.
AP/Bullit Marquez
Gov't trying to silence dissent by arresting activists, rights group says
( - June 14, 2018 - 4:10pm

MANILA, Philippines — Recent arrests of activists are part of the government’s supposed attempts to muffle voices of dissent, a rights group said Thursday.

Karapatan condemned the arrests of activists Francis Couichie Rafael of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Tagalog and Ma. Theresa Cabales of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers.

Rafael was arrested for heckling President Rodrigo Duterte in Cavite last Tuesday. The 20-year-old shouted “Huwad na kalayaan (false freedom)!" while the president was delivering his Independence Day speech.

Cabales was nabbed in Iloilo on June 8. She was presented in a press briefing as an alleged medical staff of the Communist Party of the Philippines and a “ranking member of the communist movement.”

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay lamented that the basic rights and fundamental freedoms of organization and the exercise of the freedom of speech and of peaceful assembly are being criminalized.

“This is why nearly a thousand individuals, many are human rights defenders and at least 503 are detained, face trumped up criminal charges,” she said.

Palabay added: “Through the use of the legal system, Duterte persists in promoting injustice through the military, police, Department of Justice and the courts.” — Gaea Katreena Cabico

READYoung activists launch lightning protest during Duterte speech

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