Dismissal of perjury case a victory of truth and justice, against lies and enemies of the people – Karapatan

Karapatan welcomes the dismissal of the perjury case against the national officers and human rights defenders of Karapatan, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) and Gabriela.

This is a victory of truth and justice, against lies and enemies of the people who instigated this form of judicial harassment against us, after our efforts to seek legal protection from threats and attacks.

We thank our fellow human rights defenders, families and loved ones, friends, and communities, individuals and organizations who have supported us throughout the more than three years since this case ran.

We reiterate that this case against the national officers of Karapatan, RMP and Gabriela is malicious, and is aimed at disrupting our work — in helping victims seek justice, in defending the rights of people from violations committed by the State, and in exposing the crimes of the State and its security forces. Former national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon essentially wanted to silence us, and saying we have committed perjury is his un-intelligent way of doing so.

This is the third case wherein the allegations and testimonies of former National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. were not given credence by courts, after the dismissal of the trumped up charges in relation to the travelling skeletons case at a local court in Manila where he was presented as a star witness and another local court’s junking of his order to block the website of Bulatlat.

The numerous legal offensives churned out by Esperon and the legal cluster of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, which includes this malicious perjury case, should, once and for all, cease upon the abolition of this dangerous government body. Hundreds of human rights defenders, social activists and peace consultants have remained in jail due to these trumped up charges.

The situation on the ground, which we have seen, witnessed, and experienced many times cry out the truth — it is state forces, their master warmongers in the likes of their former national security adviser, who are liars and enemies of the people. Their statements, actions, and ulterior motives, perpetuate rights violations, injustice and impunity in our country.

With this welcome gift for the new year — another year of seeking justice and defending people’s rights — we take this opportunity to call on the greater public, and the international community, to join us as we continue to work for justice and people’s rights. We will continue to explore all options under domestic and international human rights mechanisms to hold the perpetrators of this form of judicial harassment accountable. Under any regime, especially now under another Marcos, human rights defenders, together with rights violations victims, and fighters for justice, will prevail.