Karapatan: Perjury rap vs activist groups an attempt to silence critics
This file photo shows Karapatan protesting the killings of two of its members: Ryan Hubilla and Nelly Bagasala and peasant leader Nonoy Palma.
Karapatan, Release

Karapatan: Perjury rap vs activist groups an attempt to silence critics

(Philstar.com) - July 4, 2019 - 3:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — A perjury complaint against organizations tagged by state agencies as fronts of communist rebels shows that the government is determined to suppress its critics, a rights group also accused of being a rebel front, said.

Karapatan stressed this point after National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon sued its representatives as well as of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and Gabriela for perjury at the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office Tuesday.

Esperon accused the RMP, a religious group that works with marginalized sectors, of falsely claiming it is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. RMP’s certificate of registration was supposedly revoked on August 20, 2003.

The former military chief also alleged the three groups are diverting the funding they receive from foreign organizations to the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front.

“For so long a time, many of these so-called cause-oriented organizations have deceived the public into believing that their actions, especially those that are directed against the government, had been legitimate,” Esperon said.

Karapatan: Gov’t hell-bent on silencing us

Karapatan insisted their attestations were “made in good faith and borne out of diligence that they are true and correct based on our personal knowledge and/or based on authentic records.”

“The cynical claim of perjury by a national security adviser deflects on the more fundamental matters and transcendental issues in our petition,” it said.

The rights group also stressed that the filing of the perjury complaint is part and parcel of the attacks aimed at discrediting their advocacy.

“National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr’s actions show that this government is indeed hell-bent on silencing its critics using the entire extent of its resources and through deliberately magnifying technicalities to veer the conversation away from the core issue of state-sponsored attacks by the Duterte government,” Karapatan said.

The filing came days after the Court of Appeals dismissed their petitions for writ of amparo and habeas data after the court ruled there was lack of substantial evidence to establish the petitioners’ allegations of state-sponsored harassment.

The writ of amparo pertains to court protection extended to petitioners where threats to their life, liberty and security emanate from the military, police and other state security forces.  

Meanwhile, the writ of habeas data requires the respondent state authorities to disclose to the petitioners all of the dossiers the former hold against them and, as warranted, to destroy those files. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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