“Red-tagging” threatens human rights defenders

Bishop of San Carlos, Gerardo Alminaza, admonished media platform SMNI, known for misinformation, on February 24, 2023, after they accused him of supporting the communist insurgency. The media group of self-proclaimed son of God Apollo Quiboloy called the bishop a “mouthpiece of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)” in social media posts. In a statement, Alminaza had drawn attention to human rights violations, killings, and militarization under former President Rodrigo Duterte on February 21, 2023.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla proposed Leila de Lima to file a habeas corpus petition on February 20, 2023, ensuring that the Justice Department would not oppose it. The former senator has been in detention since 2017. On January 19, 2023, former aide of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, Jessica “Gigi” Reyes, was released from prison, following a Supreme Court ruling. The decision could now have a positive impact on de Lima’s trial.  

On January 30, 2023, Jen Awingan, who was arrested last year in Abra for alleged rebellion, was released on bail. Although rebellion is an offence for which one cannot be acquitted, the court granted the request. Awingan is part of the “Northern Luzon 7”, a group of arrested activists, of which five are members of the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA). The “Northern Luzon 7” activists were accused of assaulting four military soldiers as alleged members of the communist New People’s Army on October 27, 2022, in Barangay Gacab, Malibcong, Abra. The arrest warrant, issued on January 24, 2023, also included other activists, such as Windel Bolinget and Steve Tauli.


Photo © Raffy Lerma

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