Statement of Honey Mae Suazo, former secretary general of Karapatan Southern Mindanao, on the lies by Parlade and the AFP

As former secretary general of Karapatan Southern Mindanao, I am being accused by Gen. Antonio Parlade and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
The AFP and Parlade are like broken records spinning their dirty old tactics to discredit the human rights advocacy and legal services of Karapatan to the marginalized. They have gone so low, even adding personal attacks against me by dragging my husband, whom I am separated from, into their allegations.

I am writing to clear the insinuations of what Karapatan stands for, and how it has defined my work as a paralegal worker.  It is our duty to advance the issue of human rights and provide legal services to victims of human rights violations perpetrated by the state. In this context, we assist the victims and their families to stand and fight for the attainment of human rights, justice and long lasting peace.

Part of our campaign is to serve the political prisoners, incarcerated in jails, facing numerous charges. Our obligation is to support their legal case, and it also includes facilitating the families through this process, which spawns a lot of anxiety and worries regarding their security. For this, we at times act as their representatives, if they so request, and even in posting bail, we act as bondsmen, while the financial expenses are covered by families and friends of the political prisoners.  By law, anyone can be a bondsman as long as one complies with the requirements and valid identification provided by the court. By performing an act that is mandated by law, paralegal workers like myself are now being wrongfully accused by Parlade of having connections with the CPP-NPA-NDF. 

The accusation of Parlade shows his ignorance of the legal process. This public document released under the sala of Judge Virginia Tehano-Ang in Branch 1, RTC XI is open to the public. Being the bondsman in behalf of the family is part of fulfilling my duty before as a paralegal worker handling Cañete’s case.

I had to act as representation for the family, given the situation at that time Cañete’s father was murdered, while his mother and sibling were gravely under threat. We had worked through this legal process and most of the cases were dismissed due to lack of merit and others were bailable. The family raised the funds for the recommended bail.

Through the years, I have been harassed, and even charged with fabricated cases. I know this is part of the dirty tactics that the AFP throws against Karapatan and its members. But even as I am no longer working for Karapatan now, I still receive such threats. Worse, my family is also being dragged into their propaganda. I am now a single mother, and I wanted not to be disturbed by these lies.

But given that the AFP continues to attack the people and its defenders under this present state of impunity, my message to Karapatan and the rest of the human rights defenders is to continue to stand for truth, protect the rights of the people and fight for justice. Stop the lies, stop the attacks on our rights.