Detained rights defender Renalyn Tejero on PH Army’s Order of Battle list, according to PH Army personnel

In the court documents on the cases against Karapatan human rights worker Renalyn Tejero, four soldiers of the 12th Scout Ranger Company of the 4th Scout Ranger Battalion of the Philippine Army said that they were able to identify all suspects, presumably including Tejero, in the alleged murder of Cpl. Marion Suson, in an encounter with supposed New People’s Army members on November 19, 2019 because they are “the same pictures of faces at the O(r)der of Battle listed of the 4th Infantry Division, Intelligence Section, Philippine Army.”

The affidavits of the four soldiers were the bases of the trumped up murder charges against Tejero at the Regional Trial Court in Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte, aside from the attempted murder charges filed at the Regional Trial Court Branch 28 of Lianga, Surigao de Sur.

Karapatan said that “the Philippine Army’s drawing up of order of battle lists, which includes pictures of human rights defenders like Renalyn Tejero, to target activists is a clear indication of the existence of the State policy of political persecution of its perceived enemies.”

“In the first place, these lists as well as the so-called ‘rouge galleries’ of the Philippine National Police which includes names and pictures of activists are arbitrarily drawn up by these authorities, without the benefit of due process accorded the individuals concerned. It is no different from the tarpaulins, posters, flyers and other materials red-tagging individuals and groups,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

Palabay said that without pre-empting Tejero’s credible defense against the charges against her, Karapatan finds the allegations of the soldiers “incredible, witless and illogical.”

“For soldiers to ascertain, without doubt, the faces and names of nearly 30 to more than a hundred alleged rebels is simply unbelievable. For Renalyn to be impleaded in these hogwash cases is a clear reprisal for her work as a paralegal and human rights defender,” she stated.

Karapatan also scored the “badly written scripts” of soldiers who filed the complaints against Tejero. “Sirs, aside from poorly concocted and unbelievable stories in your affidavits, your testimonies are riddled with copy-pasted responses,” Palabay said.

“Tejero has been denied of her right to due process because she has never known about these charges against her. We urge the courts that issued the warrants against Tejero to dismiss or drop the charges against her. We call on the public to demand the rescinding of these order of battle lists and rogue galleries, because akin to red-tagging, these tools used by soldiers and the police result in arbitrary arrests and detention as well as other human rights violations,” Palabay ended.