After the NTF-ELCAC was created by virtue of Executive Order No. 70 on December 4,
2018, the red-tagging and de facto terrorist designation of Karapatan intensified, preceding
incidents of death threats, surveillance, arrests and extrajudicial killings of its members.
More information on these rights violations through this link:

Karapatan and the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) filed complaints regarding
these violations at the Commission on Human Rights on March 13, 2019. While these
aforementioned complaints have yet to be resolved, Karapatan participated and testified
before the CHR’s public inquiry on the situation of human rights defenders in the
Philippines on Se[tember 9 to 12, 2019. The CHR issued this report in relation to the public

National officers of Karapatan, RMP, and women’s alliance GABRIELA filed a Petition for
the Writ of Amparo and the Writ of Habeas Data (G.R. No. 247917) with the Supreme
Court (SC) on May 6, 2019. The writs were initially granted by the SC on May 30, 2019, but
the Court of Appeals (CA) Fourteenth Division, to which the case was eventually raffled
(CA-GR. SP. No. 00067), denied the Petition on June 28, 2019.

In July 2019, a petition for review of the CA 14th Division decision was filed at the Supreme
Court. Two witnesses – Ryan Hubilla of Karapatan-Sorsogon and Zara Alvarez of
Karapatan-Negros – who were supposed to testify during the hearings for the petition were
killed in June 2019 and August 2020 respectively. On September 1, 2020, after Alvarez’s
killing, Karapatan filed a manifestation urging the Supreme Court to act on the petition for
review. To this date, the court has yet to issue a decision on the petition for review.

On July 2, 2019 National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, one of the respondents in
the Petition, filed a Complaint-Affidavit for perjury with the Quezon City Office of the City
Prosecutor (QC OCP) against Karapatan National Council members Palabay, Elisa Lubi,
Roneo Clamor, Edita Burgos, Reylan Vergara, Wilfredo Ruazol, Gabriela Krista Dalena,
and Jose Mari Callueng, as well as GABRIELA Chairperson Gertrudes Ranjo-Libang,
GABRIELA Secretary General Joan Mae Salvador, RMP National Coordinator Sr. Elenita
Belardo, and RMP-Northern Mindano Region Coordinator Sr. Emma Cupin. He alleged that
the respondents committed perjury when they stated in their Petition that the Rural
Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) is “duly registered as a non-stock, non-profit
corporation under Philippine laws.” According to him, “the SEC already revoked the
Certificate of Registration of RMP on August 20, 2003 for its failure to submit the required
General Information Sheets and Financial Statements from 1997 to 2003.”

During the preliminary investigation, Sr. Belardo asserted the RMP’s belief in good faith
that its application for re-registration with the SEC has been approved, presenting proof of
the RMP’s submissions of General Information Sheet and Audited Financial Statement that
the SEC continued to receive in the past years. Palabay and the other respondents argued
that as the Petition is merely a joinder of their causes of action, each of the petitioner
verified only such allegations as were personally known and pertaining to them. They further argued
that notwithstanding this, there was no bad faith on the part of the RMP and that the
corporate status of a petitioner organization is immaterial in a proceeding for amparo and
habeas data.

The QC OCP, through Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Nilo A. Peñaflor, resolved to
dismiss the complaint in a Resolution dated November 8, 2019 against petitioners but
found probable cause to charge Belardo and Cupin with perjury. In a Motion for
Reconsideration dated December 17, 2019 Esperon, Jr. sought the reversal of the
November 8, 2019 Resolution insofar as the dismissal of the complaint against the other
respondents is concerned.

On February 24, 2020, City Prosecutor Vimar Barcellano issued a Resolution granting the
Motion for Reconsideration and finding probable cause to indict respondents. Thereafter,
three (3) separate Informations for perjury were filed against them with the Quezon City
Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) Branch 139 (Crim. Case No. M-QZN-20-02058 to M-QZN-
20-02060) and warrants of arrests were issued against them. Bail of PhP20,000 were
posted by each individual, except for Palabay who was participating in the UN Human
Rights Council session at the time when the warrants were issued.

In April 2020, Palabay posted bail upon her arrival from Geneva, Switzerland and the
warrant issued for her arrest was recalled by the trial court. However, on July 7, 2020, at
around 4:40 p.m., two men went to the office of Karapatan in Quezon City in an attempt to
serve the warrant. Palabay declined to receive the warrant and showed court documents
showing that her warrant has already been recalled.

In the succeeding months in 2020, 2021, and first few months in 2022, the trial commenced
with the marking of evidence and presentation of the prosecution witnesses. Esperon et. al.
merely reiterated their testimonies which they previously presented. In 2022, the ten
human rights defenders gave their testimonies in court. Representatives of diplomatic
missions and civil society and faith-based organizations observed the trial. International
NGOs have released statements of support for the defenders. UN Special Rapporteur on
the Situation of Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor previously sent communications to
the Philippines government and has released a statement:

In December 2022, 60 international NGOs and human rights organizations from 24
countries released a joint statement of support for the human rights defenders:
rights-defenders. Seven Members of the European Parliament also released a statement:

Meanwhile, there has been no let-up in the attacks against Karapatan. For more details on
the other forms of judicial harassment against Karapatan and its human rights workers, you
may read through this link:

On January 10, 2023, at 3:30pm, the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) Branch
139 will render its judgment on the trumped-up perjury case against the ten human rights