Karapatan to Calamba court: Release elderly human rights worker Nimfa Lanzanas

Karapatan today expressed disappointment over the Calamba City Regional Trial Court Branch 37’s denial of elderly human rights worker Nimfa Lanzanas’ omnibus motion to quash search warrants and suppress evidence in a resolution released on November 24, 2021.

Lanzanas, 61 years old, was among those arbitrarily arrested on March 7 this year in what has been dubbed as the “Bloody Sunday” raids of State forces in Southern Tagalog, where nine activists and indigenous farmers were killed and four including Lanzanas were arrested.

“It has been more than eight months since Lanzanas was arrested in the wee hours of the morning, in the presence of her young grandchildren. There is absolutely no truth to the statements of the police and military officers who alleged that she is part of a band of gun runners. She has been a paralegal of Karapatan Southern Tagalog since 2014 when her son Edward fell victim to almost the same kind of injustice that she faces now. We hope that the court will reconsider its decision and enable the release of Lanzanas, after months of being unjustly incarcerated,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

In her motion, Lanzanas stated that the place searched was not covered by the search warrants issued by Manila City 3rd Vice Executive Judge Jason Zapanta, and asserted the important defect in the warrant on the particularity of the place of search. Lanzanas also averred that police and their alleged informant stated deliberate falsehoods during the application for search warrants, showing inconsistencies in their statements. She also questioned how probable cause was not established during the application of search warrants.

Lanzanas and her family have stated that the alleged evidence found in their home were planted by the soldiers and cops who conducted the raid. “It is highly improbable that guns and explosives were stored in that small house with three small grandchildren of Lanzanas. There were several instances during the said raid when the State forces may have had the opportunity to plant these weapons,” Palabay said.

Karapatan reiterated their call for the release of all 709 political prisoners, including Lanzanas and the 57 other elderly political prisoners, all of them victims of the same modus of planted evidence and perjured testimonies.