Karapatan condemns arrest of Western Mindanao coordinator

Human rights group Karapatan condemns the arrest of its National Council member in Western Mindanao, Engr. Jennefer Aguhob, yesterday, February 5, 2020.

Aguhob was reportedly arrested based on a warrant for charges of murder issued on July 26, 2019 by Judge Victoriano Lacaya, Jr. of Regional Trial Court Branch 9 in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte. She is currently detained at the Oroquieta City Police Station.

"The arrest of human rights worker Engr. Jennefer Aguhob based on charges she wasn’t aware of, based on incidents that she had no knowledge of, and based on an alleged crime that she had no participation in, depicts the kind of judicial harassment faced by human rights defenders and critics of this administration. By exercising human rights work, Aguhob and many human rights advocates are persecuted," said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

Aguhob, a resident of Oroquieta City in Misamis Occidental and a recent law graduate, is currently Karapatan’s National Council member from Region 13. She participated in the organization’s council meeting in October 2019. Aside from conducting human rights work in the region, she was currently preparing to take the bar exams this year.

"Prior to her arrest, Aguhob had no knowledge that there was such a complaint filed against her and others. She was deprived of her right to due process, when she was arrested based on the said complaint,” Palabay stated.

Aguhob experienced several threats and harassment in the past two years. She was terminated from the Oroquieta City engineer’s office, after her military officials talked with her superiors.

Karapatan said the filing of trumped up charges against activists is a policy and practice by administrations in an attempt to stifle dissent. “The Duterte administration is more viciously implementing this with Executive Order No. 70 and martial law, declared or otherwise, in Mindanao,” she added.

The human rights group demanded for the release of Aguhob, as it pressed for the rescinding of EO70 and the enactment of measures for the protection of human rights defenders. “Release human rights worker Engr. Jennefer Aguhob!,” Palabay concluded.