Karapatan staff tailed by army intelligence

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HUMAN RIGHTS THREAT A suspected intelligence agent sits beside one of the Karapatan-SMR staff, then covered his mouth, as if to relay information on his observations (Photo by Hanimay Suazo)

DAVAO CITY- Human rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao condemned the surveillance on them by suspected military intelligence forces.

Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR, said that the incident took place when she and three other staff members were meeting in a fast food center in Maa in the morning of January 30, a military intelligence sat on the table next to them.

Suazo identified the person of heavy built and was wearing camouflage trousers and eyes covered with sunglasses.

“The man was wearing shades, but it was obvious that he kept staring at us every now and then,” Suazo said.

“One of our staff recognized him as one of the intelligence agents present at Rivera Funeral Homes when they helped claim the body of NPA commander Leoncio “Parago” Pitao,” she added.

SEEN AGAIN The asset on the left, in red long-sleeves, was recognized by one of the Karapatan staff. His companion on the left is also an intelligence asset who kept taking photos of the family of Leoncio Pitao and the Karapatan staff that went with them. (Photo by Lam Banuag)
SEEN AGAIN The asset on the left, in red long-sleeves, was recognized by one of the Karapatan staff. His companion on the left is also an intelligence asset who kept taking photos of the family of Leoncio Pitao and the Karapatan staff that went with them. (Photo by Lam Banuag)

Suazo said the when the agent finished his meal, he called someone on his mobile phone and covered his mouth during the conversation.  Around this time they noticed another man wearing sunglasses and a cap standing outside the door across their table and was looking at them while texting on his phone.

“We stopped and moved out. But as we were walking, the man who sat beside us immediately called from his phone and covered his mouth once more. While the person outside kept watching us as we rode a taxicab,” Suazo said.

Suazo said with the recent spate of killings in Southern Mindanao this January, the harassment against human rights defenders are bound to happen.

“Our work as human rights defenders have earned us the same ire from the state and corporations who want to plunder our resources and repress our rights,” she said.

But Suazo said that they remain unflinching in their work. “We remain firm with our work to hold the Aquino government accountable for human rights violations and plunder of our natural resources.  We continue to call for the end of militarization and the attacks against human rights defenders,” she said.

Last year, three suspected intelligence agents of the military tried to force their way inside the Karapatan office.

Suazo is also facing trumped-up charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for helping out the Manobo evacuees currently housed in the Haran compound in Davao City.

 

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Progressive Groups to “SLAPP-back”

LAUGHING IT OFF Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR, chuckles as she reads the names of the persons filed with trumped up cases of kidnapping, serious illegal detention, and human trafficking by the CIDG 11 and suspected military cohorts. (Photo and caption by Samuel dela Cruz, Karapatan-SMR)
LAUGHING IT OFF Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR, chuckles as she reads the names of the persons filed with trumped up cases of kidnapping, serious illegal detention, and human trafficking by the CIDG 11 and suspected military cohorts. (Photo and caption by Samuel dela Cruz, Karapatan-SMR)

JULY14 2015
PRESS RELEASE
KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO
0932-198-6728

DAVAO CITY- Progressive groups slammed the trumped-up charges filed by the CIDG against leaders of progressive organizations involved in the evacuation of hundreds of lumads from Talaingod.

On May 12,2015 formal complaints were filed at the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office against 15 leaders from different progressive organizations who were involved in the issue of evacuation of lumads in the region. All of them were accused of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and human trafficking of lumad evacuees to Davao City.

Included in the list of accused are: Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of KARAPATAN-SMR; Rev. Jurie Jaime of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR)-SMR; Sheena Duazo of BAYAN-SMR; Ryan Lariba of BAYAN-Socsksargen; Tony Salubre of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-SMR; Mary Ann Sapar of Gabriela-SMR; Jaja Necosia of RCPA Productions-Broadcasting; Kerlan Fanagel, secretary general of the Lumad group PASAKA; Sr. Stella Matutina of PANALIPDAN-Mindanao; Isidro Indao, spokesperson of PASAKA; Kharlo Manano, national secretary general of SALINLAHI Alliance for Children’s Concerns and spokesperson of the Save Our Schools network; Rius Valle of the Children’s Rehabilitation Center-SMR; Jimboy Marciano of SAMA-AKO-KMU, Pedro Arnado, chairperson of Kilusang Magbubkid ng Pilipinas-SMR, along with John Does.

The complainants are Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG XI), Angkomog brothers, ALAMARA paramilitary group, backed-up by Nestor Apas, known racketeer and collaborator of the AFP, and 68th IB-10th ID-Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP.

Hanimay Suazo of Karapatan-SMR immediately brushed off the trumped-up charges, saying that these were all concoctions to hinder their work and meant to intimidate the human rights defenders.

“This is a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) against human rights defenders. The purpose of this is to silence the critics of the government, especially those from progressive groups and victims of human rights violations. This is one of the dirty tactics under the Oplan Bayanihan.”

Suazo said that the filing of trumped-up charges has become a common occurrence.

“Lumad leader Jomorito Guaynon from Bukidnon and staff members of Karapatan-SOCKSSARGEN have also become recent victims of SLAPP.”

Kailo Buntolan, member of the Salugupungan, said that they were not harmed by the progressive groups in the course of the evacuation.

“Wala man mi nila gipasakitan. Unsa man ni sila, military? Sila pa gani ang nasakitan, kay sila ang mainitan sa pag-luto sa amo pagkaon” (“They did not hurt us. Why would they hurt us, just are they, the military? They are the ones who get hurt, because they get burns from cooking our food”), Buntolan said.

Asked for what their next steps would be, Suazo said that they will not stop in advancing and defending human rights and determined to pursue justice.

“We will SLAPP back and we will fight for justice,” Suazo ended.

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