“The filing is suspect because it was timed before the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte, who is now being hounded by issues of betrayal of Philippine interests to China as well as human rights violations so massive that the United Nations Human Rights Council wants to investigate,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said.
Michael Varcas
Groups hit ‘judicial harassment’
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - July 20, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Senators, clergy, rights advocates and a party-list group  yesterday denounced the filing of charges against Vice President Leni Robredo and other opposition personalities in connection with the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos, with Amnesty International calling it “judicial harassment.”

“The filing is suspect because it was timed before the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Duterte, who is now being hounded by issues of betrayal of Philippine interests to China as well as human rights violations so massive that the United Nations Human Rights Council wants to investigate,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said.

He said by charging Robredo and other opposition leaders, the administration “wants to stun the opposition and prevent them from further exposing the abuses of the administration, especially during the massive protest actions geared against the SONA on Monday.” 

“Legally though I think that the case against VP Leni and the others is without merit and would not stand credence in a fair court. It was just filed now to steal the thunder from the broadening movement against the excesses and tyrannical policies of the Duterte administration,” he said.

Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares described the decision of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to file charges against the opposition as a “highly condemnable act.” 

Colmenares, a former congressman, said the PNP is using “the same template the Duterte regime utilized against progressives and activists.”

“They file trumped up charges against critics of the regime to silence them from exposing the rottenness of the administration. Numerous critics of the administration like peace consultants Vic Ladlad and Rey Casambre and Sen. Leila de Lima are now detained for the fact that they stood up for the truth,” he said.

De Lima belittled as “pure hogwash” the sedition case filed by the PNP against her and other personalities in connection with the “Bikoy” videos. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Rhodina Villanueva, Robertzon Ramirez, Evelyn Macairan

CARLOS ZARATE LENI ROBREDO
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