KARAPATAN scores new cases vs activists using twin terror laws

KARAPATAN deplores the latest examples of the Marcos Jr. regime’s weaponization of the twin terror laws – Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 and Republic Act No. 10168 of the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 – to criminalize dissent and demonize activists.

On January 19, 2024, the investigating prosecutor of Cabanatuan City recommended the indictment of, among others, four activists for alleged violation of the ATA. They are Makabayan secretary general Nathaniel Santiago, Anakpawis campaign director Servillano “Jun” Luna, Jr., ASCENT convenor and development worker Rosario Brenda Gonzalez and Bulacan ecumenical forum volunteer lay worker Anasusa San Gabriel.

The fabricated ATA violation charge stems from their alleged participation in an armed encounter between the New People’s Army and the 84th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Barangay San Fernando, Laur, Nueva Ecija on October 8, 2023.

As in many other cases of this nature, the respondents were not given a chance to present evidence in their behalf because the subpoenas were sent to different addresses and not to their known and true addresses. Granted a postponement by the provincial prosecutor, they are set to file their counter-affidavits tomorrow, May 3, 2024.

Meanwhile, in Negros Occidental, a police sergeant filed a trumped up complaint last March 19, 2024 against activists and development workers Clarissa Ramos, Felipe Levy Gelle Jr., Darryl Albañez and Federico Salvilla for alleged terrorist financing. Albañez was the former secretary general of Karapatan-Negros and the September 21 Movement, while Clarissa Ramos is the widow of Atty. Benjamin Ramos, a human rights lawyer brutally killed by suspected state agents in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental on November 6, 2018. In addition to being human rights defenders, the respondents are all current or active officers or members or had collaborated on development projects under the Paghida-et sa Kauswagan Development Group Inc., a Negros-based institution focused on promoting sustainable agriculture programs.

The respondents have been directed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to submit their counter-affidavits on May 10, 2024.

These complaints have been publicly known after trumped up terrorism financing cases against two young paralegals were reported from Southern Tagalog. At least 98 activists have faced complaints or court charges based on the twin terror laws.

KARAPATAN demands the dismissal of these trumped-up “terrorism” and “terrorist financing” cases which are markers of the Marcos Jr. regime’s intensifying attacks on human rights and international humanitarian law. We demand the junking of these twin repressive laws that have proven to be gravely injurious to the people’s civil and political rights. #