Statement of Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) on the Second SONA of Bongbong Marcos Jr.’s Administration

In the first year of Bongbong Marcos Jr.’s administration, Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) vehemently condemns the persistent and alarming practice of filing trumped-up charges against activists. Despite the change in leadership, it is disheartening to witness the continuation of a grave violation of human rights that has plagued our nation for far too long.

SELDA stands firm in its commitment to defending the rights and welfare of activists, who have been at the forefront of championing social justice, human rights, and genuine democratic reforms. Throughout history, activists have played a crucial role in exposing injustices and advocating for the marginalized sectors of society. They have fought valiantly against authoritarian regimes, including the dark period of martial law under Bongbong Marcos Sr.’s father, Ferdinand Marcos.

We find it deeply concerning that the filing of trumped-up charges persists, reminiscent of a time when dissent and activism were unjustly suppressed under the Marcos dictatorship. This practice stifles the voices of those who dare to challenge oppressive systems and undermines the very principles of democracy and freedom that our nation aspires to uphold.

Under the guise of upholding the rule of law, these false charges are used as a tool to silence and intimidate activists, human rights defenders, and political dissenters. We have witnessed countless instances where individuals are targeted, arrested, and detained based on fabricated allegations while evidence of their innocence is disregarded or conveniently ignored.

SELDA firmly believes that the continued filing of trumped-up charges is an affront to justice and a blatant violation of human rights. We call on the Bongbong Marcos Jr. administration to end this practice immediately and uphold the constitutional rights of all individuals, including activists. It is the duty of any government to ensure that freedom of expression, assembly, and association are protected, fostering an environment where dissent can thrive as an essential aspect of democracy.

We urge the government to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for filing false charges, ensuring that they are held accountable for their actions. The impunity surrounding these cases must be addressed, and the perpetrators must face the consequences of their abuse of power.

SELDA also calls upon the international community, human rights organizations, and advocates of democracy worldwide to remain vigilant and support our cause. We need your solidarity and unwavering commitment to stand against the harassment, persecution, and repression of activists and human rights defenders in the Philippines.

As we navigate the challenges of the coming years, SELDA will continue to fight for justice, defend the rights of activists, and advocate for the freedom of expression and dissent. We remain resolute in pursuing a just and democratic society where the rights and dignity of every individual are respected and upheld.

Together, let us condemn the filing of trumped-up charges, and together, let us work towards a brighter future for the Philippines.

Justice for all activists! Uphold human rights!