HR Group Pushes Anew for Anti-SLAPP Legislation

2ND IN THE WEEK The court resolution dismissing the trumped up charges against 15 members of the support groups of the evacuees in Haran. Hanimay Suazo, of Karapatan-SMR, says that anti-SLAPP legislation should be approved, in defense of democracy and the legitimate cause of social movements. (Photo by Kilab Multimedia)

DAVAO CITY- Amid the dismissal of trumped up charges against progressive leaders, a human rights group urged lawmakers today to create legislation that will prevent in the filing of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP).

Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR, said that the two sets of cases dismissed last week shows that there is a legal offensive taken by government forces against leaders of mass movements.

“It is clear that the military, along with government collaborators, are much eager to curtail the legitimate assertions of progressive groups who are advancing the needs of the majority, and in doing so run against the corporate and violent interests of the few elite in the country.”

“This they have done by filing SLAPP charges against us, to burden us with the needs to answer these cases and hamper our efforts,” Suazo added.

13 individuals were illegally arrested in Kitaotao Bukidnon last month, only for the charges of rebellion filed against them to be dismissed.

Earlier this month, a resolution from the City Prosecutor’s Office declared the dismissal of  the charges against 15 members of the support groups for the lumad evacuees in Haran.

Signatory to the charges was Nestor Apas, a known anti-lumad government collaborator.

“Clearly, these SLAPP cases don’t have a kernel of truth in them, and to allow these scenarios to repeat itself in the future would be tantamount to playing jokes with the justice system.”

“It is a bastardization of the courts, as powerful organizations and individuals think that they can fabricate evidence and manipulate the legal processes, to falsely criminalize progressive action,” Suazo added.

“It is high time that we challenge lawmakers to revive the anti-SLAPP legislative action. Otherwise, they are allowing the likes of Nestor Apas to flex and trample the otherwise rigorous and just system of law in the country.”

“By creating an anti-SLAPP law, we ensure that the democratic process is protected against the intensifying attacks to people’s movements and the cause they banner.”







“OpBay’s people-centered approach resulted to rise of paramilitaries”- HR Group

WHOLE OF NATION UNDER ATTACK A slide from the powerpoint of the AFP shows its strategy of targeting civilian communities in counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan (Photo lifted from Renato Reyes blog:
WHOLE OF NATION UNDER ATTACK A slide from the powerpoint of the AFP shows its strategy of targeting civilian communities in counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan (Photo lifted from Renato Reyes blog:

DAVAO CITY- Human rights group Karapatan-SMR decried today the proliferation of paramilitary groups backed and trained by state forces, as counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan nears end.

“From the Magahat in Surigao del Sur, to the Alamara in Davao del Norte, and to the Barangay Defense System put up in White Culaman, Kitaotao, Bukidnon, paramilitaries are being set up, enabling regular military forces to hide behind a blanket of physical security and glove their hands from accountability,” said Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR.

“Oplan Bayanihan will be remembered as the counterinsurgency program that revived to a stronger existence the use of proxy forces by the AFP in its counterinsurgency efforts,” Suazo added.

Suazo points out that it was also during the regime of an Aquino that paramilitary forces became common among poor peasant sectors.

“The Alsa Masa movement during the Cory period allowed the military to tie puppet strings on the civilian populace and used them to hunt down innocent individuals who were poor to be suspected as supporters of the NPA. In similar vein, the residents of Brgy. Culaman have been ordered by their captain to act as night guards against the NPA, with the captain working under the directives of the military.”

“This forced recruitment as appendages of the state armed force puts civilians at risk, as they are pushed into the frontlines of combat. Furthermore, they are made susceptible to committing human rights violations, since they have little or no training on the soldier work they are forced to do.”

Suazo called once more for the disarming, disbandment, and investigation of the paramilitary forces, and creation of law that will prohibit the existence of these military auxiliaries.

“The trend of using civilians against civilians in counterinsurgency efforts has to stop, otherwise this could be the next motivating force that will lead to increase in the rate of human rights violations.”