On the acquittal of Cora Agovida and Michael Bartolome

Karapatan welcomes today’s acquittal of women’s rights activist Cora Agovida and urban poor organizer Michael Bartolome from trumped-up charges against them by State forces at the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19.

Agovida and Bartolome are among those whose homes and offices were raided by the police in October to November 2019 in Manila and Negros using questionable search warrants issued by Quezon City Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert. The couple were with two of their young children when the police raided their home in the dead of the night.

Out of the 76 arrested based on search warrants issued by Villavert since 2019, 22 individuals including Agovida and Bartolome remain in prison, while 2 others continue to face charges as they were released on bail.

This Manila court’s acquittal of Agovida and Bartolome followed the Quezon City court’s acquittal of Esterlita Suaybaguio of similar trumped-up charges in September this year. These court decisions reaffirm the assertions of those unjustly arrested and detained that there were violations of their rights to due process, that evidence were planted against them and that the charges are all made up by a regime that desperately seeks to silence activists and defenders.

Free all political prisoners!

Sa mga nang-aresto at nagkulong kina Cora at Michael, mananagot kayo!

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Secretary General